At 8 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 5th at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the #1 Louisiana State University Tigers are facing the #2 University of Alabama Crimson Tide.
Games like this are what make people realize that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Take one Saturday off from the usual drinking too much and standing around with your friends to watch this one.
Anyone who knows me knows that I cannot stand when people throw accolades on sporting events or athletes prematurely. I almost had a conniption when people started saying that Albert Pujols's game-three performance was the best in World Series history, or when people saying the Vancouver Canucks losing the Stanley Cup was one of the biggest letdowns in sports history (I guess the lovely people of Vancouver would disagree with me though). I don't feel that statements like that can be made, and people who make them lack the proper scope to make assumptions like that.
Do you really want to say that Reggie Jackson's three home run game was any less impressive than Albert Pujols's, or that it meant less to the series? Jackson almost single-handedly won the Yankees that game which, by the way, also clinched the World Series. Not to mention, he had hit a home run in game five of that series to ice that win as well. Pujols didn't even register an at-bat in every game this series.
With that said, I'm not even batting an eye when people call the LSU-Bama game the game of the century. It has that potential. I won't sit here and say that if it ends up being an amazing game that it will have outdone every other college football game ever, but it will certainly have to be in the discussion considering the hype and the ramifications that it will have on the landscape of college football. How you ask?
To start with the obvious, it's a game between the top 2 teams in the country, and anyone who says anything different hasn't been paying attention to college football this season. I genuinely think that these two are hands down the best teams in the country. Oklahoma State University is the number three team and, while they are certainly having an amazing season and are certainly a formidable opponent, they would not be undefeated right now if they had played LSU's or Alabama's schedule, just as other undefeated teams, Boise State University and Stanford University, would not be.
However, due to reasons beyond anyone's control, the best two teams in the country are not only in the same conference, but the same division of the same conference, which means we won't even be treated to a bloodbath of an SEC Championship game like we were when Bama beat University of Florida in the 2009 season. We get treated to a midseason massacre this year.
Second, this game has a pretty good chance of ending one of the team's hopes of winning a national title this year. As I just said, these two teams are the two best in the country, so whoever wins stands a pretty good chance of running the table and ending up in the national championship game where, unless something unforeseen occurs, they will be favored. This one game has the potential to irreversibly shape the landscape of college football for the rest of the season.
If what I think is going to happen actually happens, it could make everything very interesting at the end of the year.
Here are the four possible scenarios and how they will impact the rest of the season.We'll start with the most complicated one:
1) Alabama beats LSU in a close game.
What makes this the most complicated? Well, LSU has already proven it can win on the road with wins over University of Oregon (technically it was a neutral site), Mississippi State University, West Virginia University and University of Tennessee all away from Baton Rouge. But if they were to lose this game in close fashion, it could be construed as a tough road game, rather than them being truly outplayed by Alabama The human aspect of the BCS probably wouldn't have much problem with only dropping them a spot or two simply because it's pretty hard to argue that a team is not that good for losing to the second best team in the country in its stadium.
It would immediately put Alabama into the top spot, which, as we've already covered, puts them in the driver's seat to reach the national championship. But let us not forget what happened in 2006 when #1 Ohio State University beat #2 University of Michigan in a close game, which also happened to be the final game of the season. There was a strong push to see a rematch in the national championship game. That could be the case here, although it would be hard to say that a team that can't even win its own conference belongs in the national championship, but as I said, LSU's case would be stronger seeing as the loss came on the road.
2) LSU beats Alabama in a close game.
What this means is that LSU is the clear number one team in the country. They will be 9-0 after playing one of the most impressive schedules in all of college football. LSU will then have the inside track to the national championship because all they will have to do is win its remaining games to get there.
While you may be reading this saying it would be the exact same situation that I mentioned above, when Ohio St. beat Michigan, I would say that while there was a strong push to see a rematch in that title game, we didn't see one. The Buckeyes got absolutely demolished by Florida in the championship. Voters felt that while Michigan certainly deserved respect for nearly toppling the mighty Buckeyes, they had their shot, and they didn't make the most of it. Florida did. In short, if Alabama loses a close game, they're going to need some help.
3) Alabama beats LSU in a blowout.
This would end up being a similar situation to LSU losing close, except that instead of giving them a free pass by saying it was on the road, people would just say that sooner or later, they were bound to lose. But they still lost big, so they would be dropped down a few more pegs. Alabama would become the number one team as expected, but instead of LSU simply dropping to #2 or #3 in the country, I could see them being dropped out of the top 5. It isn't likely, but its possible.
4) LSU beats Alabama in a blowout.
Same as LSU winning close, but Alabama drops a few more and has no shot at reclaiming the throne. LSU would probably receive every first place vote in the country and, to be honest, if they can blow Alabama out on the road, they will win the national championship.
While all of this is fun, any prediction is still contingent on either of these teams running the table following this game. If they don't, the door opens for the loser, but not by much. If both teams ended up with one loss heading into the SEC championship game, the winner would have the tiebreaker, but let's say that LSU wins this game, but loses two more down the road while Alabama wins out, they would have a pretty compelling argument that if they were to win the SEC, they belong in the national championship.
This game is huge. It will probably be an absolute slobber-knocker, and I am actually counting down the seconds until 8 p.m. Saturday. Wherever I am, I will be parked in front of the television set, hoping to see the best football game of my life.
Prediction: LSU 27, Alabama 17