We're closing in on finding out who will be playing LSU in the BCS title game. The CBR staff weighs in on who should be No. 2.
Aaron Torres: They say that Helen of Troy was the 'Face that Launched A Thousand Ships,' and well, I can't help but think that Oklahoma-Oklahoma State is the 'Game That Launched A Thousand Twitter Rants.' Everyone's got an opinion, and everyone wants theirs to be heard. Oklahoma State vs. Alabama. Who's No. 2? Let the (combative, loud and angry) debate begin!
Personally, I'm still rolling with the tide, and I'm rolling with them for the same reason I have all year: they're simply the better football team. We agreed on it in the preseason, we agreed on it a month into the season, we agreed on it in the waning moments after the LSU game, and we agreed on it up until yesterday at about 7pm. Then Beatdown-- err, Bedlam occurred, and everyone changed their tune, easily falling into the Oklahoma State trap like one of Pavlov's dogs responding to dinner a bell. (Yes, I can't believe I went Greek Mythology and Pavlov in one rant. Who am I? Dennis Miller?)
Seriously though, the same thing happened last night that happens every year; one team had a week off, the other team didn't, and the team which played instantly vaulted the one who didn't, simply because their game is the one which is most recent in our heads. Of course last week after Alabama crushed Auburn, no one was arguing against the Tide. But that last week, a full seven days ago, and Oklahoma State happened in the here and now. And hell, if Stanford beat Washington State by 50 points in any empty parking lot flag football game next week, then we'd argue them over Oklahoma State at that point too.
Oh, silly impressionable college football fans, please don't ever change.
Let me put it in a different way for you. Last night was Oklahoma State's best win of the year, 44-10 over an injury-ravaged Oklahoma team at home. Alabama's best win was a Week 4, 38-14 beat down of an injury-ravaged Arkansas team at home. Seems like a pretty apples-to-apples comparison to me.
So with that said, let me ask you this: Had Bedlam occurred in Week 4, and the Alabama-Arkansas game yesterday, would you be singing the same tune today for the Tide that you are the Pokes instead? My guess is yes.
Which is the fundamental problem. This isn't a throw-on-a-lot-of-makeup and "look at me now" kind of thing, as much as a season-long beauty pageant. And in that season-long beauty pageant, the Tide won out.
So who's No. 2? I'd like to see the Tide in New Orleans.
Allen Kenney: I've consistently maintained since the beginning of time that the two teams that put together the best resumes deserve a shot at the title. It's the best way to ensure that programs don't shy away from playing tough games when they can and it puts a premium on rewarding teams that bring it every week.
LSU is definitely one of those teams this season. I think the other is Oklahoma State.
I'd definitely favor Alabama over OSU on a neutral field, and the Crimson Tide have a better shot at beating LSU. Those are both different discussions and are irrelevant to me in this case.
Alabama's loss is better than the Pokes' defeat at the hands of Iowa State. Top to bottom, however, the Cowboys have defeated a better group of teams and have generally done so in impressive fashion.
Kevin McGuire: Alabama or Oklahoma State? There are so many ways I think you can look at this, and to be honest there may not be a bad way to do it. Both teams have a solid argument to be included in the BCS Championship Game to face LSU and quite frankly I am fine with either one. Honestly.
But let's take a look at this. Do you weigh quality wins heavier than you would comparing losses? If you do, that seems to favor the Cowboys, who have eight wins against teams heading to a bowl game this postseason, compared to the six that Alabama defeated. But on the flip side Oklahoma State lost to an unranked Iowa State team on the road in double overtime while Alabama's only loss came at home, also in overtime, but to the top-ranked Tigers. If the deciding factor is "quality losses" then clearly Alabama gets the nod. I choose not to base my decision making on one game, either way, so let's throw out the best win and the worst (in this case only) loss for both teams. What are you left with then?
When I look over the entire season I see that Alabama has road wins at Penn State, at Florida, at Mississippi State and at Auburn by at least 17 points in each. That's pretty darn good if you ask me, especially considering they held their opponents to 14 points or under in each. Oklahoma State has wins against tulsa, Texas A&M, Texas, Missouri and Texas Tech on the road and I would argue that Alabama's road wins carry more weight than Oklahoma State's, although only marginally at best. I am not totally sold on the Big 12 being the best conference this season like some.
So how exactly are we supposed to distinguish between the two? For me, the BCS serves one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to place the two best teams in college football in the national championship game. Conference and division titles, under this format, mean nothing. Alabama has a by far better defense and they bring a much stronger running game to the field every time out. Oklahoma State has a clear advantage in the passing game but if we were to see Alabama and Oklahoma State on the field at the same time, my only question is who would win? I think Alabama would pick up the win.
Michael Felder: Bama, get ready to roll, roll tide get ready to roll.
That's what the team says and that's what I'm saying now. I understand the entire "but Oklahoma State has a better resume" argument and that would absolutely hold true as a deciding factor...if these two teams were equal.
Truth be told Oklahoma State is better than Alabama at exactly one thing; throwing the football.
That's it. Period. One thing. They're not better at stopping the run. They're not better at stopping the pass. They're not better at running the ball. They're not better at special teams. They're not better at anything but passing the football. Yet in some bizarro universe where people's "I don't want to see a rematch" bias and SEC hate colors their thinking they are attempting to legitimize Oklahoma State as a better football team than Alabama?
Better players. Better coach. More complete football team. Period.
In keeping in that same vein; what the heck do we even watch football games for?
If all that matters is a resume and a bunch of stats about Top 5 offense and "see we beat these many Top 25 teams" then why even watch a game? You can only play the schedule you've got and I watch Bama and the Pokes play all year to figure out which team is better. It is Alabama without question. If this is about "accomplishments" then put Clemson in the game; they beat more ranked teams than Bama including a Top 5 Virginia Tech team by a bajillion points! Whoopee!
But this isn't about accomplishments. This is about who is the best team and making it about anything beyond that is to wholly not understand the system. It isn't about "giving someone else a shot" or you "wanting to see a different game" people. It is about #1 vs #2 for all the marbles.
It will be an absolute travesty if voters manipulate their ballots to pimp a title game they want to see instead of voting for the best team.
The Bayou Bengals and the Crimson Tide in NOLA. Line 'em up and play.
After all, this is a team that only lost to the clear best team in college football by three points, and they needed to be taken to overtime to be beaten. If that doesn't show you how close to the best Alabama is, what else will?
We'll hear plenty of debate regardless of who is placed in the BCS title game, but I'll be satisfied with whoever gets in. If it is Oklahoma State, great. We get to see a championship game between conference champs from the SEC and Big 12, the two top conferences this season. A dynamic offense against an aggressive defense. It would be great. If we get a rematch, awesome. The two best teams in college football put themselves in position to battle once more for all of the marbles. Bring it on.
Regie Eller: Aaron, Pavlov makes a lot of sense here. Ivan Pavlov, a physiologist famous for his "conditioned reflex", would have known something about last night's Pokes phenomenon. Like Pavlov would have used in an experiment, last night we were all given a dose of electric-shock therapy. Were we conditioned to believe Oklahoma State is a better football team than Alabama? I was not. Were we conditioned to believe Oklahoma State now deserves its shot? I was. Hear me out.
I have long been a proponent of the two best teams playing. That has not changed. If you go position by position for the most part, you find Alabama as the markedly more talented football team. In my opinion there is only one team, Alabama, - in America that would even have a chance to beat LSU. Oklahoma State, like Arkansas and Georgia, would have its puncher's chance; for a half.
To beat LSU you have to be prepared to match them step for step, for sixty-minutes. Can Oklahoma State?: I have doubts.
Pundits have long griped and complained about the possibility of having another primo college football game re-matching LSU and Alabama. Some hate the SEC for being too dominant, while others hate the BCS for accurately matching-up the two best teams in college football, and most hate both.
While I do not eliminate Alabama because of an imbecilic argument such as: "They didn't win their conference" I also cannot eliminate Oklahoma State for doing what they had to do. (Winning its conference being in the equation, something they had not done since 1948.)
Sans an emotional Iowa State loss, Oklahoma State ran through a very difficult schedule: defeating No. 10 Oklahoma, No. 11 Kansas State, No. 17 Baylor, and No. 22 Texas and No. 25 Missouri, both on the road. (Alabama defeated: No. 8 Arkansas and No. 21 Penn State)
Oklahoma State has seven wins over teams with winning records (Louisiana-Lafayette, at Tulsa, at Texas, at Missouri, Baylor, Kansas State and Oklahoma), while Alabama has three (at Penn St., Arkansas and at Auburn).
Again the better team is clear to me, it's Alabama. Oklahoma State has done enough. I have been conditioned. Let's see if the voters have.
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