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LSU-'Bama seems inevitable

Even loss in SEC title game might not derail Tigers

By Chris Dufresne, Tribune Newspapers

10:50 PM EST, November 27, 2011

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The Bowl Championship Series formula continued to gurgle toward an LSU-Alabama rematch for the national title.

Yippee?

LSU and Alabama were Nos. 1 and 2 in Sunday's next-to-last BCS standings, with a growing sense LSU might not even have to win Saturday's SEC championship game against Georgia to advance to the BCS title game.

Alabama is in the BCS clubhouse, drinking an Arnold Palmer.

Tigers coach Les Miles assured everyone his team will try to win Saturday, which is nice to know.

"There is no way this football team goes to Atlanta and doesn't play its best," he said after the Tigers trounced Arkansas on Friday.

But will LSU be motivated? Look how UCLA played against USC after clinching the Pac-12 South title before taking the field?

Or is that, maybe, the worst analogy anyone ever has conjured?

Rematch despisers are holding out candle-vigil hope Oklahoma State can beat Oklahoma on Saturday and jump Alabama for the No. 2 position, but don't count on it.

Never mind that Alabama has only three victories against teams with winning records compared with five for Oklahoma State. It's probably time to prepare for LSU-Alabama and divvy up the other prizes.

Stanford (11-1) is a must-take pick with its No. 4 BCS standing and appears headed to either the Fiesta or Sugar Bowl.

Michigan (10-2) is a popular at-large possibility, but the Wolverines must finish in the top 14 of the final BCS standings. Michigan actually dropped a spot, to No. 16, after defeating Ohio State.

Houston (12-0), with a victory over Southern Miss in Saturday's Conference USA title game, will clinch an automatic at-large bid.

If the Cougars lose, TCU (9-2) earns the bid — but only if it finishes in the top 16 and ahead of the Big East champion. The Horned Frogs checked in at No. 18 on Sunday.

With only one week left in this scrambled-egg finish, the good news is … there's only one week left.

cdufresne@tribune.com