When you’ve been knocking around this life as long as I have you remember how the SEC, and Alabama in particular, used to be the whipping boy for all the other Division 1A football conferences.
The PAC 10, Big 10, Big 12 and WAC all had their little cliques and reviled the SEC. Their teams would schedule a game with an SEC opponent because they viewed the game as an “easy” win. Coaches like Paul “Bear” Bryant turned Alabama into a winner legitimizing their football program.
Following the Bear’s retirement in 1982, the Tide didn’t seem to be able to regain its former glory. Enter ‘Bama Head Coach Nick Saban. Alabama fans are fired up again.
A boatload of college football fans are howling because the 2012 BCS Championship Game will be a rematch of LSU and Alabama—both of which are SEC teams. Oh, boo-freakin’-hoo.
I remember how my dad regaled me with a story about how the Rose Bowl stopped inviting Alabama to play in “The Granddaddy of Them All”. It was a story I loved hearing every time he chose to share it. His eyes would light up.
Born in 1919, the history of Alabama’s Rose Bowl appearances was a recounting of what he had been told by staunch Tide fans when he was a young boy.
The 1926 Rose Bowl was Alabama’s first trip to Pasadena. They defeated the Washington Huskies 20-19. It was referred to as “the game that changed the South” and it gave Alabama its very first national championship.
The 1927 Rose Bowl pitted Stanford against Alabama which ended in a 7-7 tie. The 1931 Rose Bowl saw the Washington State Cougars go up against the Tide only to be crushed 24-0.
In 1935, Stanford played Bama for all the marbles; however they were defeated 29-13. The 1938 Rose Bowl was Bama’s fifth trip to Pasadena. This one would end in a loss to the California Golden Bears 13-0.
In 1941, after a 34-14 throttling Southern Cal took at the hands of The Crimson Tide, “the Pasadena moguls opted for an annual Big Ten-PAC 8 matchup.” In that game, Alabama outgained USC 351 yards to 41.
Alabama wouldn’t take the Rose Bowl field again until 2010 when they defeated the Texas Longhorns 37-21.
As I mentioned earlier, folks are all wrapped around the axle because the 2012 BCS Championship game will see the LSU Tigers play the Crimson Tide to determine who will be crowned No. 1.
The frustration stems from the fact that it boils down to two SEC teams doing battle and everyone is decrying the flaws in the BCS selection process since it means that the SEC is guaranteed a sixth consecutive championship title.
In 2008, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive pitched a so-called “plus-one” plan that essentially was a four-team playoff using existing bowl games. Other than the ACC, the other conferences not only summarily rejected the plan; they refused to even discuss its details.
Dan Wetzel, writing at Yahoo! Sports posits, “The decision to dismiss Slive’s plan in 2008 even had ramifications far beyond a single-season title chase; it changed the landscape of the sport.”
“Many conferences failed to see the increased access to the championship (four teams rather than two) and the additional revenue from the system as a lifeline for survival. They wound up nearly wiped out.”
“The vote all but assured the gutting of the Big East, where teams have jumped ship in fear of losing automatic qualifying status. Non-AQ leagues such as the Mountain West, Western Athletic and Conference USA have been butchered.”
“BCS-generated instability even played a part (along with distrust of Texas) in the Big 12 losing four schools and nearly blowing up for good courtesy of PAC-12 raids.”
“’I don’t think any of us are happy that the BCS is one of the contributing factors to conference realignment,’ BCS executive director Bill Hancock told The Associated Press.”
For those skeptics who are considering skipping the game between the Tigers and the Tide, ponder this: Alabama has won 13 national championships, 22 SEC championships and made appearances in 59 Bowl games. LSU can claim 3 national championships, 10 SEC championships and 43 Bowl appearances.
If you think this game won’t be a slobberknocker you must hail from some part of the country other than SEC country.
These two teams are evenly matched. In Bama’s loss to the Tigers on November 5th, the Tide had 17 first downs to LSU’s 15. Alabama’s 3rd down efficiency was 38% to LSU’s 27%. Total yards: Alabama 295, LSU 239. A.J. McCarron went 16 of 29 passing while LSU’s Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee went 9 of 17. Time of possession: Alabama 30:06, LSU 29:54.
ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski is crying in his beer, “…Bama and LSU will play for the national championship, and one-loss teams Oklahoma State, Stanford, Boise State and Houston won’t. So sad.”
Finally, my friend Pat who is proprietress of And So It Goes In Shreveport, is a H-U-G-E fan of LSU. I think you’ve probably already pieced together the fact that I am a H-U-G-E Bama fan.
I am challenging Pat to a wager on the game. If her Tigers win on January 9, 2012, I will donate $100 to the Wounded Warrior Project. Hopefully, she will take me up on my bold challenge and do likewise when my beloved Tide opens up a can of whoopass on her Tigers.
No matter who loses, the Wounded Warrior Project will be the winner and that’s a good thing.