BCS National Championship Preview

What a year in the NCAA as the season saw the usual upsets and controversy with only one team left in the NCAA having an undefeated season. This year saw another big controversy at the top of the BCS rankings, which has now become a yearly occurrence. This year there was no controversy over the #1 spot in the NCAA. The LSU Tigers were easily the top team as the only undefeated team in the NCAA. The controversy was instead at the #2 spot where a number of teams could have played in the National Championship. At first the NCAA had Oklahoma ranked #1 in the nation but that didn’t last long. They fell to #2 and continued to fall throughout the year as they missed their shot at playing in the title game. Alabama took their place but on November 5th lost to #1 LSU seemingly ending their chance. The reason their chances fell with the loss was that the BCS does not like rematches in the title game and so it seemed that a rematch of LSU and Alabama would not happen. Instead the Tide fell to only #3 as Oklahoma State took the 2nd spot. With a Oklahoma State loss Alabama took their second spot back even though a number of other teams could have taken it including undefeated Houston. The end of the year saw all of the challengers fall but one remained as Oklahoma State still stuck around. After a big win against Oklahoma the OSU Cowboys were the pick by many to take over the #2 spot and prevent a rematch of Alabama and LSU. This didn’t happen though as Alabama remained in the #2 spot with LSU continuing their domination at the top. This meant that a rematch of the overtime 9-6 win by the LSU Tigers would be for the big prize with everyone hoping for a bit more offence this time up.

 

#1 LSU Tigers:

 

 

 

 

 

Louisiana State University has been one of the major powers in the NCAA for years now and have done it with multiple coaches. Since 2000 LSU has been in a bowl game including two, now three, BCS National Championship Games. In 2003 the Tigers made their first National Championship in the Sugar Bowl where they beat Oklahoma 21-14 to earn the school’s first National Championship Game. They went back in 2007 under a new coach, Les Miles, who was nicknamed “The Mad Hatter” for his tendency to go against the grain. In 2007 Miles took his reputation into the championship against Ohio State where they beat the Buckeyes 38-24. With a record of 2-0 in the National Championship the Tigers are back and unlike before they are ranked #1 in the nation and were not surrounded by controversy at the end of the season. The beginning of the season was a different story though as LSU had to begin the season down two players. Unlike most controversies it was not entirely about a NCAA rules violation and instead team rule violations. The Tigers decided, before the season started, to suspend starting QB Jordan Jefferson for a bar fight just before the season and suspend starting WR Russell Shepard for talking out of turn about an NCAA probe. With both players out the Tigers remained strong and won the first three games without these players. Midseason saw another issue as the Tigers suspended Tyrann Mathieu (CB), Spencer Ware (RB), and Tharold Simpson (DB) for one game due to failed school drug tests. They came through it all though and remained undefeated throughout the year making them a consensus #1 pick in the BCS.  The Tigers have become the top team in the nation really for their great defence that averaged only 10.5 points against per game this year. The Star of this defence is Tyrann Mathieu (71 tkl, 1.5 sck, 5 FF, 2 INT) aka “The Honey Badger” who finished 5th in the Heisman Trophy voting despite being a defensive back. Mathieu also lit it up as a returner scoring 4 TDs this year as he became one of the most explosive returners while also being one of the toughest defensive players in the NCAA. The Tigers’ 2nd ranked offence is the main focus of the Tigers as it has won countless games for them including the 9-6 win against Alabama. Their offence is not to be overlooked though as Les Miles is as creative as he has ever been and they have been successful by doing almost everything by committee. The passing game focuses on their dual QBs Jordan Jefferson (60.2% cmp, 684 yds, 6 TD, 1 INT) and Jarrett Lee (62.3% cmp, 1306 yds, 14 TD, 3 INT) with Lee taking most of the snaps. The running attack is led by Michael Ford (123 rsh, 755 yds, 6.1 avg, 7 TD) and Spencer Ware (174 rsh, 700 yds, 4.0 avg, 8 TD). LSU is ranked 12th in the league in points for as they have the ability to put up points and give defences trouble. The LSU Tigers are a very well-balanced team that concentrates on old school football with defence and the run and will definitely be looking to put up more points in their rematch against their SEC Rivals Alabama.

 

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide:

 

 

 

 

 

Alabama is one of the more traditional teams in the NCAA as they have played in many big games since they started their football program in 1892. More recently the Tide has played in one BCS National Championship Game, this will be their second. In 2010 the Tide took on the Texas Longhorns in the BCS Title Game where they won their first BCS Championship winning by a score of 37-21. Last year they did not have as much success only playing in the Capital One Bowl as defending champions, thanks to their rivals Auburn who won the national championship. The Tide have become contenders since 2007 when Nick Saban, former LSU Coach, returned to College from the NFL and guided the Crimson Tide to the Independence Bowl. This year the Tide continued to be contenders throughout the year leading up to their November 5th matchup against the LSU Tigers. The game was essentially for a berth in the National Championship later in the year and the Tide lost as they failed to capitalize on scoring opportunities. After much controversy the Tide got back to the #2 spot and will have the chance to get revenge on the Tigers for their only loss of the season. It would be a fitting ending to win the title game for Alabama who suffered tragic losses in the spring after a tornado ravaged Tuscaloosa. Houses were destroyed and lives were lost as the city was devastated but one bright spot for them was the biggest show in the state, Alabama Football, coming back to play. Alabama is built almost identically to the Tigers as they are led by their defence before anyone else. Led by linebacker Dont’a Hightower (79 tkl, 3.0 sck, 1 INT), the Crimson Tide are not a big play defence but just a stifling one. They are so stifling that they were ranked the #1 defence in the country with numbers that seen to only be possible in video games only allowing 8.8 points per game and allowing just over 191 yards per game. The offence of the Tide is not bad either as they ranked 30th in total yards and 17th in points per game. The Tide are led by a very balanced offence that have three top-tier offensive players. QB A.J. McCarron (66.7% cmp, 2400 yds, 16 TD, 5 INT) is the manager of the offence that has a good ability to throw the ball and gets a lot of help from Marquis Maze (56 rec, 627 yards, 11.2 avg, 1 TD). The passing game is not too explosive though as McCarron and Maze are good but not lights out. Instead the Tide depend on their running game led by Trent Richardson (263 rsh, 1583 yds, 6.0 avg, 20 TD) who finished 3rd in the Heisman vote behind Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck. Richardson is the unquestionable leader of the offence and the best player on the Crimson Tide as he can take over games at any time. The Tide are also and old school team with their focus on the run and defence and they will have the added sting of already losing to their opponents. In the BCS National Championship Game the Tide will be looking to get Richardson going and continue to play amazing defence to get by the #1 Tigers.

 

Matchup:

The BCS Championship will make history this year as it will be the first time that two teams from the same conference will face off. It is the culmination of the SEC domination as they are guaranteed to have their 6th National Champion in the last 6 years. A big reason for this dominance is the SEC defences and no two teams better express this defensive dominance than LSU and Alabama. The previous game between these two saw no TDs yet still some excitement as it was taken into overtime. Don’t expect to see not TDs in this game but also don’t expect to see a lot of TDs. A matchup of the #1 and #2 defences is bound to be a tight one with defensive dominance a guarantee. The defences are slightly different though as LSU has the more explosive defence that will take advantage of any mistakes. An interesting match-up would be the mind games between AJ McCarron and Tyrann Mathieu. This matchup could be the difference for the game as the Tide needs to keep Mathieu from making the big plays he is known for. Both defences will be the focal point but this game will come down to which offence can break through. The Tide have the better offence than the Tigers but their offence is based on the success of Trent Richardson who was shut down in the last game. The Tigers are not as potent as the QB carousel has seen one of the two QBs take more of the snaps with the other not being able to play to his potential. The National Championship this year will be another big defensive battle and the Tigers will need to find out a way to break through the Tide defence as Trent Richardson will be hard to keep out of the endzone for a second game. Alabama will take the advantage in this game as beating a good team twice is harder than many think and keeping down a more powerful offence for 8 quarters will not be easy.

 

Prediction:

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide 10 – 9 LSU Tigers #1

– Trent Richardson will score the only TD of the game and Jeremy Shelley or Cade Foster will redeem themselves by kicking a winning field goal at the end of the game for the win

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