Random Thoughts: Rematch, Coaching Changes, Mizzou & the SEC Race

The talking heads are running their mouths about a LSU/Alabama rematch in the BCS Championship Game.  I could not be more opposed to this, and not just because I do not want LSU to have to play Alabama again (I don’t), but because I don’t think it would be right.  

Alabama played LSU with every advantage possible.  The game was played in their home stadium.   They had an electric atmosphere.  And they lost.   So why would they deserve another chance?  

And let’s say Alabama wins a close one in the BCS Championship Game.  What then?   LSU would have won a game in Tuscaloosa and lost a game at a neutral site while Alabama would have lost at home and won a neutral site game.   So why exactly does that make Alabama national champions?

I understand the argument.   Many believe that LSU and Alabama are clearly the top two teams in the country.  Since the game went to overtime, people’s feelings have not really changed in that regard.  But while people are getting caught up trying to determine the second best team in the nation, they’re forgetting that the purpose of the BCS is to determine the best team, not the second best team.   

So while many feel that Alabama is still the second best team in the nation, we know for a fact that they are not the best team.  They lost, at home, to LSU.   Another deserving team should be given an opportunity to defeat LSU for a championship.   Alabama already had their opportunity, with a home field advantage, and they could not do it.  

It would be pretty ridiculous to have “The Game Of The Century” rendered completely meaningless. 

My feelings are the same for Oregon too.  

Now having said all of that, LSU still has a long, long way to go before any of this becomes reality. 

Coaching Changes
It won’t be long until coaching change season will be fully underway.  We know that Arizona and Tulane are already looking for new coaches.  Could Ole Miss be next?

After another embarrassing loss, this time to Kentucky by 17 points, the rumor got cranked up on Sunday.  Rumors are still swirling that Nutt may be fired as early as Monday.  Whether that happens or not, it’s highly unlikely that he’s back in 2012.  

So who are some rumored replacements?

Some of the expected names have been thrown around for all three spots such as Mike Leach and Rich Rodriguez.  

In Tulane’s case, they have also reached out to former Boston College head coach Jeff Jagodzinski.  Another name that continues to pop up is LSU running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson.   We all know that Wilson has incredible ties to the city of New Orleans, but it remains to be seen whether he’s ready to be a head coach.  He’s reportedly interested in the job.  Needless to say, losing Wilson would be a big blow to LSU’s staff and especially their recruiting efforts.  

Arizona has a long list of potential candidates, but a couple of names seem to be more prevalent than others.  Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin, Louisiana-Lafayette head coach Mark Hudspeth, and former Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti seem to get mentioned more than others.   But the hottest name recently is Southern Miss head coach Larry Fedora.  

Conference Race
LSU is obviously in the driver’s seat in the SEC West.  As long as they defeat Arkansas, they are going to Atlanta.  If LSU defeated Ole Miss but lost to Arkansas and the Tide, Tigers, and Hogs all finished 7-1 within the conference, then the tie-breaker comes down to BCS rankings.  

It would come down to the eighth tie-breaker, which reads as follows:

The tied team with the highest ranking in the Bowl Championship Series Standings following the last weekend of regular-season games shall be the divisional representative in the SEC Championship Game, unless the second of the tied teams is ranked within five-or-fewer places of the highest ranked tied team. In this case, the head-to-head results of the top two ranked tied teams shall determine the representative in the SEC Championship Game.

So everything falls to the BCS rankings.  All three teams are likely to be close in the BCS standings so the possibility of the top team being five spots ahead of the second team seems small.   Since Alabama is ranked third right now, they’re almost assured to be one of the top two teams.   The question then becomes, “Does LSU fall below Arkansas?”   If they do, then Alabama goes to Atlanta and perhaps to New Orleans for the BCS title game.   If LSU is still ahead of Arkansas, then LSU still goes to Atlanta.  

In the SEC East, Georgia now controls their own destiny, but South Carolina still has a shot.  The Gamecocks need to defeat Florida and have Georgia lose a game, most likely this weekend against Auburn.    Georgia also has Kentucky left on the schedule.  

On Sunday, the SEC officially welcomed the University of Missouri to the conference.  While I have maintained that I preferred a school that was a better fit geographically, I like Missouri and prefer them to West Virginia and some of the other schools being mentioned as possibilities.  

The SEC confirmed that Missouri would be a member of the SEC East, which means the divisons will be as follows:

Mississippi State
Ole Miss
Texas A&M

South Carolina

How the SEC will work scheduling is still unclear.  Most seem to think that the league will keep the cross-divisional permanent opponent, which will allow Alabama/Tennessee and Auburn/Georgia to keep their precious rivalries.   However, some message board chatter has indicated that LSU pushed hard to get rid of Florida as their permanent opponent.  

It’s easiest for the SEC to keep things as they are and to simply make the two new members, Texas A&M and Missouri, permanent opponents.   

However, it makes a ton of sense for Arkansas and Missouri to become permanent opponents.  A natural rivalry, aided by geography, would surely develop.  And if LSU and Florida would like to take a break from each other, then that means LSU would link up with South Carolina while Florida would play Texas A&M.   

In the middle of all of this, it would also be nice if LSU could somehow lose the Friday after Thanksgiving game against Arkansas.   And maybe LSU can actually play in Fayatteville instead of Little Rock.