No, Alabama and Texas A&M Aren't Going to Have a Rematch for the National Title

Scott Halleran

Gary Danielson is already lobbying for round two of the Tide vs. the Aggies if both teams win out. Here's why it's not going to happen

I did not honestly expect to write about the potential for a rematch in the national title game this year, for reasons that will become clear in a moment. But Gary Danielson of CBS is already out there calling for another game between Texas A&M and Alabama, this one for the crystal football, according to CBS's weekly media email touting its Saturday lineup.

There will be a big clamor for a Texas A&M–Alabama re-match if both teams go undefeated the rest of the season.

My initial reaction to this was, "No, there won't be." But on second thought, I believe there is almost no imaginable scenario under which there is a rematch for the national title. And if there will be a clamor, it will likely be confined to Gary Danielson and Texas A&M fans. That's even if you assume that Alabama will go undefeated this year, which seems like a pretty safe bet at this point but is far from assured. (LSU and Auburn say "hello.")

For one thing, there are currently 14 undefeated teams in college football, 13 of which are ranked. All but two of those teams -- Fresno State and Northern Illinois -- come from the conferences that get an automatic bid to the BCS. Two more are from the shaky American Athletic Conference, but one of those is Louisville. Poll voters are likely to favor any undefeated team from the five power conferences or an undefeated Louisville over Texas A&M. You can argue about whether that's fair or not, but it's realpolitik.

Secondly, some of those teams would get a chance even if they suffer one loss between now and early December. There's already talk that the Pac-12 is better than the SEC from top to bottom this year. (I'm not sure I agree, but the argument is being advanced by a smart Missouri fan, so it's not like we're talking about comments on an Oregon message board.) That argument, as well as rematch fatigue from 2011, is going to give a one-loss Oregon or one-loss UCLA an edge over Texas A&M in the final vote, as long as the loss is not too egregious.

It took Oklahoma State losing to a sizable underdog in mid-November to set up the first rematch; the only other one-loss team from the power five on the board was a Stanford team that got thrashed by Oregon the week before Oklahoma State's loss. That kind of perfect storm is unlikely to happen this year, almost as unlikely as the predictions that we could have four or five undefeated teams -- another annual staple.

Finally, there will be no clamor for such a rematch even if it somehow happens. No one, outside of Texas A&M fans and Gary Danielson, wants a rematch. Very few people wanted a rematch in 2011. Sure, it gave the SEC a bragging point, but how many of you really wanted to see a rematch then? I was one of those who narrowly thought a rematch was the fairest outcome, but not a desirable one.

The fact that it took that kind of a weird season to set up the second round of Alabama-LSU shows why it's not going to happen this year. And why there certainly won't be people marching in the streets if it doesn't.

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