The verdict has been rendered and there’s going to be a rematch.
No. 2 Alabama (11-1) edged out No. 3 Oklahoma State (11-1) in the final Bowl Championship Series standings on Sunday to earn the right to play No. 1 Louisiana State on Jan. 9 for the national title.
Or was it wrong?
“We all have to live with the system,” Alabama Coach Nick Saban said on ESPN’s bowl selection show. “It sort of is what it is.”
The argument will continue for days, weeks, months and perhaps years.
LSU was the runaway winner of this year’s BCS race and Alabama seemed to have a healthy grip on No. 2 entering the final weekend of play.
Oklahoma State’s 34-point victory over No. 10 Oklahoma, however, turned it into a much closer race than anyone imagined.
LSU finished with a perfect score of 1,000. Alabama was No. 2 at .9419 while Oklahoma State was third at .9333.
“For whatever reason we came up a little bit short,” said a disappointed Oklahoma State Coach Mike Gundy.
Alabama and Oklahoma State offered compelling arguments.
Alabama’s only loss was a 9-6 overtime defeat against LSU.
Oklahoma State suffered a worse loss, a double-overtime defeat at unranked Iowa State. The Cowboys, however, were champions of the Big 12 Conference while Alabama did not win its own division of the Southeastern Conference.
Oklahoma State also had seven wins over schools with winning records as opposed to three for Alabama.
Texas Christian (10-2) failed to climb the two BCS spots necessary, into the top 16, to claim an automatic BCS bid.
Michigan (10-2), however, did become BCS eligible by finishing in the top 14 and will face Virginia Tech (10-2) in the Sugar Bowl.
Virginia Tech is coming off a blowout loss to Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game.
The final BCS standings solidified the major bowl lineup:
BCS championship: LSU vs. Alabama
Rose: Oregon vs. Wisconsin
Fiesta: Stanford vs. Oklahoma State.
Sugar: Michigan vs. Virginia Tech.
Orange: Clemson vs. West Virginia.
Controversy is nothing new to the 14-year old BCS.
In 2000, Florida State edged out Miami for the title-games pot even though Miami defeated Florida State in the regular season. Miami was also No.2 in both BCS polls.
In 2001, Oregon finished No. 2 in both polls but No. 4 in the final BCS standings. Nebraska finished No. 2 despite losing its last game, 62-36, to Colorado.
In 2003, USC finished No. 1 in both polls but No. 3 in the BCS standings. LSU defeated Oklahoma to win the BCS title while the Associated Press independently named USC its champion.
This year’s race more closely mirrored 2006, when the SEC and Florida argued against a rematch between Ohio State and Michigan.
Florida, after winning the SEC, claimed it deserved a shot at No. 1 Ohio State, which had defeated No. 2 Michigan by three points in Columbus.
This year, Alabama and SEC reversed course and lobbied in favor of a rematch.