OKLAHOMA CITY, January 5, 2012 — Now that all the BCS games are in the books it’s time to focus on the BCS National Championship game. It’s a rematch of the regular season meeting between LSU and Alabama, where LSU won 9-6 in overtime.
Spare the arguments about who should be playing or how the BCS is really B.S. There is nothing that can be done about it now, so let’s break down this game. Both teams have excellent defenses with OK offenses.
The SEC will continue its reign in college football, guaranteeing a sixth straight national championship for the conference: Both schools are from the SEC. Alabama is one of the all time great programs in college football with multiple national champions. The exact number of championships is debatable, depending on what you count as an actual championship (they claim 13).
But Alabama’s place in college football royalty is solid. The real story is LSU’s rise to an elite program. Looking at success and number of championships, the Tigers are eerily starting to resemble the University of Miami during their period of dominance from the early ’80’s to the early aught’s.
The Hurricanes were never much of a player in college football until Howard Schnellenberger was named head coach, and won the national championship in 1983. Jimmy Johnson took over, winning the championship in 1987. Then Dennis Erickson became head coach, winning championships in 1989 and 1991. Not to be outdone by Larry Coker, he won another in 2001.
Most of these years were rampant with NCAA infractions, but the success is inarguable. Since then Miami has had limited success, but is not a power in football.
It seems as if LSU has always been a power, but their success is relatively new. Yes, they won a championship in 1958, but for over 40 years they were a competitive team that weren’t ever major players in football.
LSU burst back onto the scene in 2003, winning the BCS Championship with Nick Saban as the head coach against Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. But even that was a relative surprise. A Sports Illustrated cover in October of that year reads: “Oklahoma rolls. The Rankings Get Rocked and the BCS Title Contenders Are Few: Miami, Virginia Tech, Southern Cal, Georgia.” No mention of the eventual champs.
The first time LSU had been ranked number one in the AP poll was 2007, the year of their third championship, now with Les Miles as the head coach. (The 2003 AP champ was USC, not LSU.)
Sound familiar? Multiple championships with multiple head coaches after years of not being relevant. A victory on Monday would give LSU it’s forth title overall and its third in eight years. That would be the most titles in the BCS era, and LSU doesn’t show any signs of slowing down anytime soon.
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