Ten years later, everyone’s still complaining. Well, not everyone. Fans in Louisiana and Ohio are surely excited as the LSU Tigers and Ohio State Buckeyes prepare to meet in the 2008 Allstate Bowl Championship Series Championship Game.
For all its hype, all its hoopla and all its maybe-this-will-make-them-stop-talking-about-a-playoff hope, the BCS leaves fans disappointed. Putting talk of the system aside – you can find plenty of those columns online – the games themselves have failed to deliver the goods.
This year’s bowl season has actually been exciting overall. Of the 29 games played so far, 17 have been decided by 7 points or less. But the average margin of victory in BCS games this year has been 21.5 points.
Shouldn’t the biggest games be the best games? That’s certainly what fans hope for and are led to believe. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always pan out that way. In the nine-year history of the BCS, the average margin of victory in the championship game is 15.3 points. Only four games were decided by less than 10 points.
LSU-Ohio State’s blowout-ability
Personal allegiances aside, everyday fans of football want a competitive game Monday night. But LSU and Ohio State both have a recent penchant for bowl blowouts.
The Buckeyes lost last year’s BCS championship 41-14 against Florida. The year before that, they dominated Notre Dame 34-20. The year before that, they pounded Oklahoma State 33-7.
LSU’s last two bowl performances? A 41-14 romp of Brady Quinn and Notre Dame in last year’s Sugar Bowl and a 40-3 annihilation of Miami two years ago.
To be fair, both the Buckeyes (31-24 in 2OT vs. Miami, 2003 Fiesta Bowl) and Tigers (21-14 vs. Oklahoma, 2004 Sugar Bowl) have won the BCS title in close games within the past five years, but that doesn’t mean this game will be an instant classic.
The Buckeyes had just two games all season decided by less than 10 points. Meanwhile, the Tigers played a number of close games within the SEC, but they also had four wins by 40 or more points.
Explosive offense meets stout defense
If there is a reason to suggest this game stays close, it’s the matchup of LSU’s high-powered offense and Ohio State’s tenacious defense. LSU scores more than 38 points a game. The Buckeyes surrender just over 10 points per game.
Ohio State allowed more than 20 points just once all year – in their lone loss of the season, 28-21 against Illinois. On the flip side, LSU’s two losses came in triple overtime, which inflated the score. But their score at the end of the fourth quarter in those games was 27 and 28, respectively.
If the game is played in the teens or below, the Buckeyes will feel right at home. If it gets into the 20s, they may still have a shot. But if scoring gets into the mid-30s or higher, the game is LSU’s for the taking.
For more information, visit MattHubert.com.