No, a rematch between LSU and Alabama for the national title isn't guaranteed. But Oklahoma State's shocking loss to Iowa State in double overtime Friday makes the chances of a second game between the Tide and the Tigers, this one for all the college football marbles, far more likely.
Let's keep in mind one of the key things about the BCS: With the number of undefeated AQ teams now down to one, the computers become far more important to the outcome. (Oh, joy.) The computers have been minimized to the point where a de facto No. 1 in both human polls can't be kept out of the national championship game -- the result of the Southern Cal-LSU-Oklahoma debacle in 2003. But a controversy over No. 2 is something different, especially if the human polls diverge on who is No. 2 , or give one side a very slim advantage with their ballots.
In last week's BCS standings, the difference between Oklahoma State and Alabama was considerably larger than the difference between LSU and Oklahoma State. The difference between Alabama and Oregon was also smaller than the difference between Oklahoma State and Alabama. And the computers do not think quite like humans do, which is a critical thing to remember. They don't care when a loss happened, or whether a team has played another team before, or any of the other "extra" things that humans tend to take into account. They give the best score to the team with the best combination of wins and losses according to the record -- period.
And the computers love the Big 12. Every team from that league that was ranked in the BCS last week was ranked higher by the computers than its final position in the composite rankings -- every single one. So while Oklahoma State will almost undoubtedly drop when the standings are released on Sunday, it's no sure bet that they will fall all that far. Given all that, the odds that the Cowboys would have a shot to return to No. 2 if they beat the Sooners and the humans don't settle firmly on a second-best team would have to be decent.
Still, you've got to like Alabama's chances of getting another chance against LSU in the national title game. Then again, as Oklahoma State learned Friday, your place in the polls does you no good if you don't keep winning.