The BCS Championship 2012 game will feature No. 2 Alabama (11-1) against No. 1 LSU (13-0) in what could be a repeat of a defensive knockdown, drag-out fight that the two teams had on Nov. 5. LSU edged Alabama 9-6 in OT on a Drew Alleman field goal and solidified itself as the best team in the nation after that.
The BCS Championship game will be televised on ESPN and can also be watched on ESPN 3D and seen live-streamed on ESPN3.
Alabama's loss was thought to have totally marred their chances at getting to this point, especially with 11-1 Oklahoma State's success. However, the Crimson Tide was able to bounce back from that defeat with three lopsided victories, topping Oklahoma State by a .0086 margin in the BCS standings before earning a chance for revenge, according to ESPN.com.
Each team has won a national title in the last four years. While Alabama is looking for its second in three years, LSU is looking for its first since 2007. It's each team's defense that has primarily allowed that to happen and will most likely determine which team comes out victorious on Monday.
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Alabama's physical defense, which ranks first in the nation at 191.3 yards per game, is led by All-Americans Courtney Upshaw, who produced 8 1/2 sacks and 17 tackles for loss, and fellow linebacker Dont'a Hightower, who recorded a team-leading 81 tackles with three sacks and 9 1/2 for loss.
It will have to contain the Tigers' offense, who, despite starting both Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee at quarterback throughout the season, ranked 12th in the FBS in points per game (38.5). Both Jefferson and Lee are arguably underestimated as the two have combined for nearly 2,000 passing yards and 20 touchdowns. Alabama must also take into account LSU's 17th ranked rushing attack (215.2 yards per game) led by Michael Ford (755 yards) and Spencer Ware (700 yards).
LSU's big and deep defense, on the other hand, is second in the country in defense at 252.1 yards per game and is led by first-team All-American cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu. Mathieu, who had two interceptions and forced six fumbles, alongside Claiborne, who had six picks and a nation-leading 173 interception return yards, make for the most dangerous cornerback tandem for an LSU team that led the country in turnover margin at 1.69 per game.
At the same time, the two cornerbacks' playmaking abilities have always been reinforced by an LSU pass rush that tallied 37 sacks, led by defensive ends Sam Montgomery (9.0) and Barkevious Mingo (8.0). All will have to key in on Heisman Trophy finalist and Doak Walker Award winner Trent Richardson. The junior running back ranked sixth with 1,583 rushing yards and fifth in the country with 20 rushing touchdowns. Richardson also had 327 receiving yards and three TD receptions.
The Tigers did hold Richardson to only 89 rushing yards on Nov. 5, but even if they do stop him, they can't forget about quarterback A.J. McCarron. The junior may have been just as underestimated as Jefferson and Lee all season, passing for 2,400 yards, 16 touchdowns and five interceptions. McCarron went 16 of 28 for 199 yards in the first meeting with LSU, getting sacked twice and picked once.
This game will be another tight one. However, revenge will be sweet. Alabama has the top defense, a better quarterback in McCarron and a Heisman finalist running back in Richardson. All will elevate their play knowing that they almost came decimal points shy of missing out on the title game. The final score: Alabama 17, LSU 14.