Same old story, just a different year. The selection for the BCS national championship game is once again surrounded by controversy.
The “Rematch of the Century” has been officially set, only 29 days after LSU beat Alabama 9-6 in Tuscaloosa.
LSU’s inclusion is obvious. The Bayou Bengals are the only remaining unbeaten team this season and have beaten seven schools that were ranked at some point during the season.
Who should be No. 2 is an endless argument.
The debate between Alabama or Oklahoma State for the No. 2 spot has generated a lot of debate in recent weeks, especially over the last 24 hours or so.
Both team’s merits have been debated, ranging from factors such as their strength of schedule, number of wins over ranked opponents and which of their losses was more damaging to a BCS resume.
The biggest factor that has created all the controversy is that Alabama is going to the BCS national championship without winning its division or conference or even playing in the SEC championship game, for that matter.
Similar feelings against letting a non-conference champion play for a national championship contributed to Michigan in 2006 and Georgia a year later being left out of the title game.
This is only the second time that a team has made the BCS national title game without playing in its conference championship game. The first was Nebraska in 2001. Oklahoma made it to the national title game in 2003 after getting routed by Kansas State in the Big 12 championship game by a score of 35-7.
Oklahoma’s inclusion in the BCS national championship game even after their embarrassing loss created a three-way BCS controversy with LSU and USC that season about which teams would play for all the marbles.
USC was ranked No. 1 in the last AP Poll and Coaches Poll before the bowl games, but was left out of the national title game in favor of LSU and Oklahoma. The top ranked Trojans went on to beat No. 4 Michigan 28-14, and LSU beat Oklahoma 21-14 in their matchup.
That season ended with a pair of co-national champions after USC was voted No. 1 in the final AP poll, despite LSU’s victory in the BCS national championship game.
A similar scenario could happen this year.
If there was talk about an Alabama-LSU rematch before the game was even played, then it’s not too early to speculate how Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State could earn a share of the national title.
There’s no chance of that happening if LSU beats Alabama for a second time. The Bayou Bengals would end the season as the only unbeaten team and it would be extremely unlikely for them to be voted behind a one loss Oklahoma State team.
However, if the Crimson Tide are able to defeat the Tigers the second time around and the Cowboys beat Stanford by a significant margin, then the possibility remains for this season to end with co-national champions.
A dominant game against Oklahoma nearly got Oklahoma State a last minute spot in the 2011 BCS National Championship Game. A similar performance against Andrew Luck and Stanford could once again sway the minds of some voters as they fill out their final ballots.
Another scenario that seems more likely to happen is Alabama and LSU being co-national champions if the Crimson Tide win the BCS National Championship Game in similar fashion that the Tigers won the first game in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama and LSU could remain ahead Oklahoma State even after all the bowls are played.
Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon may not be playing in New Orleans for a national championship, but they could still leave Stillwater as national champions.
Even though that mythical title may not mean as much to them as the one an SEC school will win on the field on Jan. 9.