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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Commentary

Alabama, LSU rematch could benefit Cougars


If the college football season were to end today, the BCS National Championship would be a rematch between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama on Jan. 9 in New Orleans.

That might not be such a bad thing for UH.

The Cougars (12-0, 8-0 Conference USA) have earned the No. 6 position in the BCS standings and USA Today Coaches Poll, and the No. 7 ranking in the AP Poll.

Despite their forgiving schedule, the argument that the Cougars have one of the best teams in the country is completely valid.

However, LSU (12-0, 8-0 SEC) and Alabama (11-1, 7-1) play a fundamentally different brand of football, with different a different breed of athletes than C-USA teams.

This year’s UH squad could be a bowl-eligible team if it were an SEC school, but it would likely not have more than 10 wins.

It may not to be wise to speculate on the results of this weekend, or predict how the dominoes of the BCS will fall.

But if the Cougars make a BCS bowl, the triumph of playing in the game should not be enough — winning should still be the priority.

Fans should not be satisfied by their team only making it to the big game.

The Tigers and the Crimson Tide may be the only two schools in the NCAA who have the Cougars’ number.

UH has a legitimate shot to beat any other team in the country, as long as it is not an SEC juggernaut.

If Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech go on to win their respective conference championships, their loyal followers will claim how much they belong in the championship game instead of the Crimson Tide.

That isn’t necessarily wrong.

There is no way Alabama can clinch the SEC championship, but their lone loss to LSU shows more character than the defeats suffered by the Cowboys (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) and Hokies (11-1, 7-1 ACC).

Oklahoma State was heavily favored to beat Iowa State (6-5, 3-5 Big 12), but choked in double overtime losing 37-31. Virginia Tech’s loss to Clemson earlier in the season (9-3, 6-2 ACC) is easier to forgive.

Many berated how simple LSU’s 9-6 win against Alabama was. But just like any other team, both rosters have matured since then.

If there were a rematch, there would certainly be at least one touchdown scored instead of exclusively field goals.

Either way, football teams do not get style points for putting up gaudy statistics on offense. Run-oriented offense and stifling defense is a by-product of surviving the SEC.

But if the Crimson Tide do not make the title game, there is a chance they could play UH in the Sugar Bowl.

Miracles can happen, but the sight of running back Trent Richardson or the size of Bama’s defense on the opposite side of the Cougars would be intimidating.

A matchup against another program would give the Cougars a better chance of winning. ESPN and other outlets are projecting that UH will play the Michigan Wolverines (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten) in the Sugar Bowl.

This gives the chance for something more than just making an appearance — nobody should be happy just being there.

LSU and UH are the only two remaining unbeaten teams. UH will not be given the chance to prove itself in the national championship because of its conference affiliation and schedule.

All possibilities aside, it is easy to jump ahead and create scenarios.

Fans and media will speculate, but the Cougars have to handle No. 24 Southern Miss. to win the C-USA Championship. Then they can officially join in on the BCS frenzy as well.

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