Point/counterpoint: Who will win the BCS Championship?

BY DI STAFF | DECEMBER 06, 2011 7:20 AM

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LSU (13-0, 8-0 SEC)

First, a disclaimer: This article was written at about 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 4, several hours before any of the official BCS bowl matchups were announced.

That's how confident I am that LSU will win the national championship.

The Tigers have proven all season that they are the best in the country — and, thanks to Houston's collapse last week, LSU was the only team in Division-I to finish undefeated.

LSU went to Tuscaloosa, Ala., and beat the then-No. 2 Crimson Tide on Nov. 5. The Tigers stomped an Arkansas team that was ranked No. 3 at the time by 24 points. Don't forget their victory over Oregon — also ranked No. 3 at the time — in the season-opener.

LSU's second defeat of Alabama could very well end up looking a lot like the first. If the game is another defensive struggle — the first installment ended without a touchdown, 9-6 — it's safe to expect the Tigers' Tyrann "Honey Badger" Mathieu to make a game-changing play or two.

In a year that has seen early Heisman favorites — see: LaMichael James and Andrew Luck — fail to deliver a single season-defining moment, a strong case could be made for Mathieu. He probably won't win, but he's the closest to a defensive player taking home the award since Charles Woodson did so at Michigan in 1997. And like Woodson, the LSU sophomore makes big plays on special teams, too — he has returned four punts for touchdowns this year.

For four months, the Tigers have made the claim they're the best team in college football. On Jan. 9, they'll prove it.

— by Ben Schuff

Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC)

In 1971, boxer Muhammed Ali squared off with Smokin' Joe Frazier in what would later be named the "Fight of the Century." The bout featured two of the best boxers in the history of the sport; both were undefeated. Frazier took the win via unanimous decision.

Ali and Frazier met again for a rematch three years later, giving Ali a chance to avenge the first loss of his professional career. And he did just that, claiming a unanimous decision.

Fast-forward to the 2007 NFL regular-season finale, featuring the undefeated New England Patriots and the New York Giants. And after a grueling dogfight full of hits, penalties, and many points, the Patriots came out on top; the 38-35 win clinched their 16-0 season.

But just a few weeks later, the Giants found themselves in Super Bowl XLII against the Patriots for a rematch. After another hard-fought 60 minutes of action, New York shocked New England, 17-14.

I'll throw one more your way. Many doubted undefeated Wisconsin would lose this season before they traveled to East Lansing, Mich., to face off against Michigan State. But the Spartans threw a wrench into the BCS by winning the game, 37-31, on a last-second Hail Mary.

But wait, could it be? The Badgers got a rematch? They defeated the Spartans, 42-39, to claim the first-ever Big Ten championship game.

It's common for great teams and athletes to take advantages of rematches, especially if they lost the first meeting; it's rare for one great team to defeat another great team twice in the same season.

Ergo, Alabama will defeat LSU and claim its 14th national championship. The Crimson Tide are great, and great teams never get beaten twice.

— by Cody Goodwin

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