Schlabach: It's the kicks

NEW ORLEANS -- The most important development in No. 2 Alabama's preparations for its rematch against No. 1 LSU in Monday night's Allstate BCS National Championship Game might have come on the last play of their final practice in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Only a couple of hours before the Crimson Tide boarded a plane for New Orleans on Wednesday, sophomore kicker Cade Foster booted a 54-yard field goal at the end of a one-minute drill against the team's No. 1 defense.

It might have been the emotional lift that Foster -- and his teammates -- needed before playing the Tigers again.

On Nov. 5, Foster and fellow Alabama kicker Jeremy Shelley combined to miss four field goals in the Crimson Tide's 9-6 overtime loss to LSU in Tuscaloosa. If the Crimson Tide hadn't managed to earn a trip to New Orleans to play LSU on Monday night -- the first regular-season rematch in BCS title game history -- the earlier loss might have haunted the Crimson Tide forever.

"It's a huge relief and a huge opportunity," Shelley said. "We've got to come back and show them what we can do and hopefully put them away."

For Mark Schlabach's full column, click here.