Whichever team wins the BCS National Championship Game will win the BCS championship and the crystal football that goes with it. The winner technically is receiving the Coaches' Trophy, which goes along with finishing first in the Coaches' Poll. While individual coach voters have bucked the rule on a couple of occasions (2008 and 2010), they are required by the BCS and Coaches' Poll guidelines to vote for the BCSNCG winner as their No. 1 team. Not enough will rebel to make the winner of that game not win the BCS/Coaches' national championship.
However, the AP Poll voters are not bound by any such rules. You, of course, remember 2003 when LSU won the BCS title but USC won the AP title. That season, to date, is the BCS's greatest failure. The BCS was designed to end the era of split national titles, and yet a split national title happened on its watch.
If LSU beats Alabama for a second time, there will be no split title. The Tigers won the tougher of the two SEC divisions, won what was no worse than the second-toughest conference, and they beat Pac-12 and Rose Bowl champ Oregon along with Big East and Orange Bowl champ West Virginia in non-conference play. It will also own two wins over one hell of an Alabama squad, and oh yeah, it will be the only undefeated team in the country. An LSU win will lead to a unified LSU title.
If Alabama wins, the Crimson Tide will own the BCS title. However, the AP title will be completely up in the air.
A compilation of opinions from AP voters shows that three different teams will likely have first place votes in the poll. Some said they'll vote for Alabama, case closed. A couple have said they're voting for LSU almost no matter what happens next Monday. One voter, Kyle Ringo of the Boulder Daily Camera, said he would strongly consider voting for Oklahoma State, depending on how exactly the game turns out.
Most said that anything is possible, which is probably the right way to look at it. Part of that anything is a chance to have three national champions, which would happen if Alabama beats LSU and then LSU and Oklahoma State tie for the most number of first place votes in the AP Poll.
In a season that brought us the first national title game rematch, some kind of chaos just feels like it is lurking around the corner. If you don't have a horse in next Monday's race (like me), it's almost enough to don a houndstooth hat and affix toilet paper to a laundry detergent box just to see if we can get that three-team national title to actually happen.