Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Still up for grabs

Still up for grabs

The Bowl Championship Series rankings answered the question on the minds of the entire college football landscape when it announced Sunday night that top-ranked LSU would be paired up against No. 2 Alabama in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game.

“I actually got [the news] from ESPN right before it went on air,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “Our players found out about it at the team banquet when we piped the ESPN show into them. They were extremely excited to have the opportunity to play in the BCS National Championship Game.”

The game marks the first time in BCS history that two teams from the same conference will play for a national title, and many questioned if Alabama deserved a shot despite not winning its conference.

“We are excited for the SEC,” BCS coordinator Bill Hancock said. “It has been an exceptional year for them. I get asked a lot whether two teams from the same conference should play in the National Championship Game, and the answer is absolutely, if they are No. 1 and No. 2.”

The question that kept Alabama fans and players on the edge of their seats over the weekend was whether BCS No. 3 Oklahoma State’s 44-10 win over No. 10 Oklahoma would catapult them over Alabama for a place in the championship. In the end the Cowboys fell .0086 percentage points behind the Tide for the No. 2 spot.

“It goes without saying that No. 3 Oklahoma State made a real run at the top this weekend,” Hancock said. “The distance between No. 2 and No. 3 was the closest ever under our existing rankings formula. That is a tribute to coach Mike Gundy and the Cowboys.”

Conflicting opinions rose among many members of the media on whether the Tide should be awarded the right to play for the title over OSU. Tuscaloosa News sports editor Tommy Deas said he believes the matchup is between the two best teams in the nation.

“It is clear to me that Alabama is the only team that can compete with LSU on the football field,” Deas said.

The controversy has brought about more discussion of a possible playoff in college football.

“You have to feel bad for the people of Stillwater, Oklahoma. Oklahoma State is a very good football team,” Alabama beat-writer Izzy Gould said. “If we had a plus-one, Alabama and Oklahoma State would have to play each other for a chance to play LSU. I think a lot of people would be satisfied with that. A lot of people are upset in Stillwater, Oklahoma and rightfully so. A lot of people would have been crying in Tuscaloosa if it were Oklahoma State going. From that perspective, you have to look at it as a flawed system that needs some overhaul.”

When college football analyst Reese Davis announced on ESPN’s BCS selection show that Alabama would be the No. 2 team and earn the right to play for the title, Tide fans across the city rejoiced.

“Me and my roommates have been talking about this all week,” Alabama student John Fowler said at Wilhagan’s Sports Grille. “We said there was no way Oklahoma State was jumping us!”

Tide fans will now get what they have been waiting for since Nov. 5: a rematch against an LSU team that beat the Tide 9-6 in overtime.

“LSU is going to play us tough,” Alabama student Randy Dupree said. “But we are used to that type of atmosphere. We got 13 National Championships already so 14 is on the way! Roll Tide Roll!”

With its invitation set in stone, the only thing Alabama must worry about is their matchup with the Tigers 35 days away.

“I really do think that these are two really good football teams,” Saban said. “It will be a great football game.”

Aldo Amato and Zac Al-Khateeb contributed to this report.

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