Johnson: The Loss Of The Regular Season
Posted Jan 10, 2012

Terry Johnson: Alabama's dominance hurts what happens in the regular season.

By Terry Johnson
Please follow me on Twitter @TPJCollFootball

The 2012 BCS Championship Game will go down in history as one of the most memorable title games ever played.

What makes it so memorable? Simple, Alabama's thrashing of LSU helped the BCS contradict two of its most fundamental premises.

How did this happen?

According to its mission statement, the BCS is "designed to ensure that the two top-rated teams in the country meet in the national championship game".

While fans in Stillwater will disagree with this statement, Alabama was clearly the second best team in the nation when the BCS pairings came out. Yes, it lost to LSU at home, but breezed through their schedule otherwise, winning all of its contests by 16 points or more.

In other words, they earned a place in the title game for their entire body of work. After all, the BCS purports to benefit college football by "preserving the significance of the regular season".

Let's give credit where credit is due. Alabama proved exactly why it belonged in the championship game, dominating every facet of this game from the opening whistle. Alabama's offense moved the ball virtually at will against LSU's defense (at least until it entered the red zone), and limited the Tiger offense to a paltry 95 yards of total offense.

So if the Crimson Tide won handily, where is the problem?

Alabama's victory tonight shows that the regular season no longer matters – only the final game does. LSU was the only to team to finish the regular season with an undefeated record. The Tigers won eight games against ranked opponents, including victories against three teams that won BCS bowl games. They also defeated Alabama on November 5th, which propelled them to the SEC West Division title, as well as the SEC Championship.

Yet, all of this went for naught. Because the BCS Championship game is a "winner-take-all" type affair, Alabama wins the National Championship, and LSU has to settle for some lovely parting gifts.

Does that outcome preserve the significance of the regular season, or render it meaningless?

The BCS is in a no-win situation after Alabama's win tonight. The BCS Committee cannot add any new qualifications for playing in the BCS title game, such as a no-rematch clause, without contradicting its primary goal of matching the top two teams against each other for the national championship.

On the other hand, failure to act would render the regular season essentially meaningless if Alabama can win the national championship without winning its conference or even its division.

I cannot wait to hear the BCS spokespeople try to explain their way out of this one.

Congratulations, Crimson Tide fans, your football team won the 2011-12 National Championship!

And with the way it transpired, people will continue to talk about for many seasons to come.