The West Is Won, and That's All That Matters: Alabama 24, LSU 15

If anyone wants to point to the fact that Alabama got off to a slow start against LSU and won after a dubious decision on what should have been an LSU interception along the sideline, there's an easy response available to the Tide: Iowa and Oregon. That won't and shouldn't protect Alabama from any poll fallout in relation to Texas and Florida, but it shows why there's no killing the cliche that it's better to win ugly than to lose pretty.

Not that any Alabama fans are likely to see much ugly in a win against LSU that clinched the SEC West title and kept the Tide undefeated and on a collision course with Florida in the SEC Championship Game. If both teams continue to do their jobs, the matchup of 12-0 teams will be one of the most eagerly anticipated games of the decade and a de facto play-in for the BCS National Championship Game.

And there's actually several reasons for the Tuscaloosa faithful to be encouraged by Saturday's game. The beleaguered offense rang up 452 yards of offense against LSU and limited the Bayou Bengals to 253. Greg McElroy had one of his best days in a while (19-of-34, 276 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT), Mark Ingram added to his Heisman-contending numbers (22 carries, 144 yards) and Julio Jones (4 receptions, 102 yards, 1 TD) and Marquis Maze (6 catches, 88 yards) both had nice days.

So let the critics talk about officiating conspiracies and slow starts and losing ground in the polls. As long as Alabama wins, it doesn't really matter. When you win them all, they still call you champions.

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