Not every team goes 5-for-5 on fourth-down conversions (the Tigers did that against Florida). Not every team disdains a very makeable winning field-goal attempt and goes for broke to the end zone, flirting with the possibility of the clock expiring (the Tigers did that against Auburn, scoring when the clock read 0:01).
Not every team drowns out the noise from a rabid visiting stadium, rallying from a fourth-quarter deficit against its former head coach (the Tigers did that against Alabama). Not every team fights through rumors about the impending departure of its current head coach, then trots onto the field and captures a conference championship, minus its starting quarterback and largely without its premier defensive tackle (the Tigers did that against Tennessee).
Not every team has enough reputation to leap from No. 7 to No. 2 in the final Bowl Championship Series standings, jumping over three title-minded teams that did nothing to lose any ground (the Tigers did that on the final weekend of the season).
So now LSU (11-2) gets the Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1) on Jan. 7 in New Orleans for the national championship.
All things considered, that will be the easy part.
Now we fully expect Ohio State to give a better account of itself than last season’s national-championship flameout (Florida 41, Ohio State 14). Come to think of it, things can’t get worse.
Oh, Ohio State's offensive-line muscle will be a fascinating matchup against LSU’s quick, sometimes inpenetrable defensive line. You’ve got to like the way Buckeyes quarterback Todd Boeckman and running back Chris “Beanie’’ Wells became such compelling factors in Ohio State’s offense.
And the Ohio State defense? Pretty darn effective against Big Ten Conference opponents.
But this is big-boy football now.
The Buckeyes are 0-8 in bowl games against SEC teams. That’s not a coincidence. It’s not the stars aligning in a weird sort of way.
Much was made last season of the 51-day gap between Ohio State’s defeat of Michigan until the BCS Championship Game in Glendale, Ariz.
Ohio State is now dealing with the same factor. It hasn’t played since Nov. 17. It must battle the rest. Meanwhile, the layoff will work in LSU’s favor. The beat-up Tigers, limping and exhausted at times, get a chance to heal. They will be at full strength for the first time in a long time.
Remember what that was like? LSU 48, Virginia Tech 7.
Let’s go another step. Superdome? Home-game atmosphere?
Remember the 2004 Sugar Bowl? It was the BCS championship game. LSU-Oklahoma. The Big Easy was filled with purple-and-gold. Even the Oklahoma players remarked about the omnipresent LSU fans.
Early on, the roar was defeaning. It was a huge factor.
And here’s LSU, back again in its home state, looking for another title. Any other result would not make sense.
Miles — who resisted the job overtures from his alma mater, Michigan (largely because of the distraction factor at the SEC championship game) — finally has a conference title to call his own. Some might say, “Big deal!’’ Wasn’t LSU supposed to win?
Well, yes. In the preseason, there was little doubt about that. In fact, an LSU-USC collision looked practically unavoidable.
So the fact that LSU actually became the first two-loss team to play for the BCS national championship might make you think the Tigers are underachievers. Nothing could be further from the truth.
LSU, two weeks after earning the first No. 1 ranking since Billy Cannon’s era, lost a 43-37 triple-overtime heartbreaker at Kentucky on Oct. 13. The Tigers simply couldn’t put away the Wildcats and big-time quarterback Andre’ Woodson. They had chances, but they were all snuffed out.
The end? Nope. The beginning.
Such a loss might finish some teams. Not LSU. It battled again, taking advantage of the crazy regular season, and earned back the No. 1 ranking.
Then, with a national-championship opportunity looking more like a formality, the Tigers fell again on Nov. 23. Again, incredibly, in triple overtime. Arkansas prevailed 50-48, behind the remarkable work of running back Darren McFadden. And everyone had the same question.
How could LSU rebound from this?
The Fighting Irish have a promising future based on coaching, current talent, recruiting, title path, and program power.
CFT: Johnny Manziel nearly transferred out of Texas A&M before the 2012 season after being suspended, according to reports, but he stayed after his successful appeal.
Players to watch
Buckeyes, Tigers who probably will play key roles in the BCS championship game.
Video: Football from NBC Sports
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BCS title game
Pregame color, key plays and other moments from 'Bama's blowout win.
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