Time Out for Nov. 29, 2011

Fair not a factor for BCS

If you’re an LSU fan and aren’t crazy about a rematch between the Tigers and Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game, you can take comfort in this fact:

It’s making Nick Saban sweat.

Saban didn’t like the idea of lobbying voters back in 2003 when LSU and USC were fighting for a spot in the Sugar Bowl to decide the BCS. These days, Saban isn’t so reluctant. Monday he pleaded with voters to “be fair” and not vote just to keep his Crimson Tide out of a BCS rematch with LSU, which appears to be the proverbial mortal lock.

Fair? Since when was anything about the BCS system fair?

Is it fair to LSU to have to play - and beat - Alabama twice?

Is it fair for a team to have a shot to win the national championship when it couldn’t even play for its conference title?

Is it fair for teams to win conference titles and not have a chance at playing in the ultimate BCS game?

The answer to all is no, but fair doesn’t matter. Fair doesn’t apply. Fair just got sacked for an 11-yard loss by the BCS blitz.

The eye test will tell you the nation’s two best teams are LSU and Alabama. But unlike what Saban wants BCS voters to believe, it isn’t just about that.

It should also be about achievement. About skins on the wall. It’s about conference titles that build to the top of the pyramid that is the ultimate BCS game.

Should LSU beat Georgia on Saturday for the Southeastern Conference crown, LSU will have beaten five teams in the current BCS rankings along with Bama, Arkansas, Oregon and West Virginia. No one else is close.

Alabama has beaten two BCS-ranked opponents (Penn State, Arkansas). Its schedule strength is 23rd, compared to 20th for LSU. No. 3 Oklahoma State has beaten three BCS-ranked teams (Texas, Baylor, Kansas State) and if it can beat Oklahoma by enough to turn the voters’ heads Saturday, it will have a fourth BCS win and the Big 12 title. The Cowboys, by the way, have played the eighth-toughest slate. A thin lampshade better than Bama, but that’s how was with LSU and USC in ‘03.

No one else really has an argument. It’s basically LSU against Bama or Oklahoma State. LSU-Bama might produce another defensive struggle, and few want to see that. If it’s LSU-OSU, there will be some touchdowns scored for sure, and a nation sick of SEC domination will know there’s at least a chance another conference can win the title.

A vote for the Cowboys would be a vote against Alabama. Is that fair? No. But since when has that mattered?

“The whole system is unfair,” said Phil Miller, an AP poll voter from the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “Whether Alabama deserves another shot at LSU doesn’t change that.”

So true. But it would be fairer to give a one-loss champion from the nation’s highest-rated conference, the Big 12, a shot.