BATON ROUGE, La. — The 2016-17 college football season comes to an end Monday night. Clemson and Alabama will go at it for a national championship for the second year in a row. And, if it’s any smart, Clemson should try to emulate the LSU football team.
LSU lost to Alabama, yes. But in the Crimson Tide’s magical, undefeated regular season, LSU was the only team to hold Alabama under 30 points and only Ole Miss played Alabama to a closer finish than the 10-0 one LSU turned out in Death Valley.
But what might the College Football Playoff have looked like if LSU could’ve outlasted Alabama? It might’ve been a two-score outcome, but that game came down to one or two plays that, had they gone the other way, could’ve resulted in an LSU win. So, what might the national championship look like had that been the case?
Well, it wouldn’t necessarily guarantee LSU a bid in the College Football Playoff. The Tigers would’ve been in the driver’s seat for an SEC Championship Game berth, but they still would’ve had to go through Arkansas, Florida and Texas A&M before getting there, all of whom would’ve been gunning to take that away from LSU.
Still, let’s say LSU and Alabama both won out heading toward the College Football Playoff. That would’ve left the committee with quite a predicament, given that Alabama and Ohio State would’ve been in the same situation, as would LSU and Penn State. And there’s no way the committee leaves a one-loss Alabama team out of the playoff.
So, it would’ve come down to a two-loss LSU with an SEC championship and a one-loss Ohio State team without one. (If Penn State didn’t make it in reality, the Nittany Lions aren’t making it in my hypothetical.) And even though it would’ve been the right decision, I don’t see the committee taking two nonconference champions in the playoff.
Which would’ve left us with the following matchups: No. 1 Clemson versus No. 4 LSU in Atlanta and No. 2 Washington vs. No. 3 Alabama in Phoenix. As tempting as it would be to give Alabama and LSU a No. 2 and No. 3 rematch in the Fiesta Bowl, the two-loss team in the playoff would be the 4 seed, even if it was the SEC champ.
From there, I think we’d have the same national championship. These two teams were on an unavoidable crash course for the national championship all season. So, no, LSU couldn’t have derailed Alabama’s season. The Tigers would’ve needed help for that.
But a win could’ve sent LSU to the playoff, even after it fired its coach. Which is pretty darn impressive if you ask me.
This week’s LSU football poll question
I’m going to keep it really simple on the poll question this week: Who ya got?
As I mentioned above, Alabama and Clemson play Monday night for the national championship. Alabama is favored, as it always is, but Clemson comes in with big wins against Auburn, Florida State, Louisville, Virginia Tech and Ohio State to its name.
It should be a good game. So, who do you think is going to win? Vote in the poll below. And after the game ends Monday night, I’ll post your votes in the Bayou Bengal Briefing on Tuesday to see how good your predicting hats are.
But I won’t make you be the only ones to go out on a limb. I’ll make a pick, too. I’m saying Alabama wins, 27-13. The Tide’s defense is just too strong. And Nick Saban has had a year to ponder how to neutralize Deshaun Watson this time. I doubt he’ll struggle with it again.
Your weekly NFLSU update: Wild Card edition
NFL wild card weekend is behind us. And with wild card weekend went the Super Bowl chances for many of the NFL’s most popular LSU football products. Here’s a recap of the events this weekend:
- Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. had one of his worst showings of the season in the New York Giants’ 38-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Beckham was targeted 11 times but caught just 4 passes for 28 yards. After the game, Beckham allegedly punched a hole in a wall.
- Despite a strong showing from wide receiver Jarvis Landry, the Miami Dolphins were eliminated by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Landry caught 11 passes for 102 yards Sunday, but 3 turnovers by his quarterback sunk the Dolphins’ chances.
- With the win in that same game, Steelers’ Zach Mettenberger (DNP) and Jerald Hawkins (on injured reserve) advance.
- Houston Texans running Alfred Blue carried twice for 4 yards in his team’s win against the Oakland Raiders. The Texans move on to play the New England Patriots next weekend. The loss eliminated Oakland’s Perry Riley Jr. and Vadal Alexander.
- No former LSU football players touched the field between the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions on Saturday.
Speaking of former LSU football players …
Former LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson released a video over the weekend through the Arizona Cardinals website of his return to Baton Rouge for LSU’s aforementioned loss to Alabama.
— Patrick Peterson /P2 (@P2) January 9, 2017
In the video, Peterson takes viewers through a tour of LSU’s football operations building, weight room and locker room, as well as a first-person perspective of the Tiger Walk before games. It’s a must watch if you’re an LSU fan looking for an immersive experience or just want to catch up with Peterson all these years later.
Dave Aranda chimes in on Bama
LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda is in a unique position this week. Aranda is one of the few coaches to have schemed for offenses led by Saban, former Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and new Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.
In this interview with SB Nation, Aranda explained what made Alabama’s Kiffin-led offense so dangerous, why he thinks the Crimson Tide’s offense on Monday night will have a little more of a Saban influence than usual and what Sarkisian does so well as a play-caller.
It’s a cool read if you’re into the X’s and O’s of football. Aranda is a schematic mastermind in a lot of ways, so reading about his awareness of the chess match that is play-calling is incredibly interesting.
Your weekly non-revenue LSU sports update
Football season may be over, but winter and spring sports are officially in full swing. Here are the scores you might’ve missed while watching the NFL Playoffs or the Golden Globes this weekend:
- The LSU men’s basketball team got routed at home by Mississippi State on Saturday, losing 95-78. The Tigers are 1-2 in SEC play, with losses to Vanderbilt and Mississippi State, with their sole win being against perennial bottom dweller Missouri.
- On the other hand, the women’s basketball team still is good. That squad snuck past Arkansas, 53-52, Sunday, improving its record to 13-3, with two of its losses being to UConn and Mississippi State. Both of those teams are unbeaten and ranked in the top 5.
- The No. 2 LSU gymnastics team kicked off its season with a dominating display Friday night, offing Georgia, 197.825-193.600. That score of 197.825 is the best total LSU has ever posted in a season-opening meet.
- The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams competed against Alabama on Saturday. The men lost, 161-138, and the women’s team won, 189-110.
- Track and field opened up the 2017 indoor season with the Purple Tiger Invitational and impressed, especially in hurdles.
This week in made-up holidays
As I often do at the end of the Bayou Bengal Briefing, it’s time to shed a light on some of the weirdest made-up holidays the Internet has to offer. And, according to the fine folks over at NationalDayCalendar.com, this week has something of a lesson for the LSU football program.
Over the next six days, we’ll be celebrating “Home Office Safety and Security Week.” As someone who primarily works from home, I’ll be sure to celebrate accordingly. But I think the LSU football team might have a thing or two to learn this week as well.
— Hilary Scheinuk (@hscheinukphoto) January 4, 2017
That’s right. Vandals reportedly broke into Tiger Stadium last week. If there’s one home office that should be secured safely, it’s LSU multi-million dollar football stadium.
Update your security. Call up one of those companies with the scary commercials that fear monger you into buying their security systems. Do whatever you need to do. Because it’s probably not a good omen to start your offseason with someone vandalizing your turf.