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Monday, September 17, 2012
Alabama, LSU poised to do it again?

By Chris Low

What does the college football establishment least want to see?
A) A payment system for the players based on how many recruiting stars that player had coming out of high school.

B) Unrestricted free agency.

C) A 16-team playoff with the championship game being played the Saturday before the Super Bowl.

D) Alabama and LSU to square off again for the 2012 national championship.

Just to be clear here, the chances of the first three happening are right up there with the chances of coaches’ salaries being geared to how many players they graduate and not how many games or championships they win.

The fourth one, though, isn’t that outrageous.

In fact, based on what we’ve seen the first three weeks of the season, Alabama vs. LSU has as much merit as any other potential matchup for the Discover BCS National Championship Game in South Florida.

Even the most zealous SEC fan would admit that there’s so much football left to be played that predicting an Alabama-LSU rematch for the top prize again this season is way too premature.

But it is fun to kick around the idea and imagine the grimaces on the faces of everybody else around the country at the very thought of two teams from the SEC [-- the same two teams, mind you -- turning South Beach into SEC headquarters in January.

It’s frustrating enough for the rest of the college football world to see that the SEC has won six straight national championships.

But to make it two in a row where it’s an all-SEC final?

The sheer horror of it all is too much to bear for those outside of Dixie. Oh yeah, outside of Texas and Missouri now, too.

Alabama is the country’s best team right now, and it’s hard to imagine the Crimson Tide stumbling prior to their Nov. 3 showdown with LSU in Baton Rouge.

LSU, which has been equally dominant the first three weeks, has a more treacherous path to that date. LSU plays at Auburn Saturday, but also has a stretch where it faces Florida on the road, South Carolina at home and then Texas A&M on the road before a bye leading into Alabama’s visit.

Alabama does not have a bye right before the game this season and gets Missouri and Tennessee on the road before returning home to face Mississippi State the week before traveling to Baton Rouge.

We’ll see if the two teams can handle the grind and make it to Nov. 3 unbeaten and still ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in the polls.

The truth is that too much probably would have to happen for Alabama and LSU to wind up there again in the final BCS standings.

Oregon looks as explosive as ever, but has to play at USC on the same November Saturday. Of course, the Trojans already have had their annual hiccup, losing to Stanford last weekend.

Florida State also looks capable of running the table, although the Seminoles have a big showdown with Clemson this weekend.

Again, a lot would have to happen for Alabama and LSU to play again for the title, and you can’t help but wonder if there would be some funky voting in the two polls that last week if they’re both in position.

Two years from now, none of this will matter.

The four-team playoff is scheduled to kick off in 2014, with a selection committee picking the four teams.

Just for the fun of it, consider if the selection process were to take place right now -- who would be the four this season?

I’m talking about looking ahead and projecting the four best teams and the four most deserving teams after the conference championship games are played.

I’d go with Alabama, LSU, Florida State and Oregon, in that order.

I guess we’ll find out in December how right I was.

In the meantime, let’s enjoy the season, and to a lesser extent, all the grumbling that’s sure to come if Alabama and LSU stay right where they are.