No. 1 LSU (13-0) vs. No. 2 Alabama (11-1), BCS National Championship Game, New Orleans, 8:30 p.m. ET Monday (ESPN): The key to this one could be if Trent Richardson can break loose. The Heisman finalist was held to 89 yards in the 9-6 loss on Nov. 5, and he's anxious for the rematch. "Most definitely. ... I'm waiting for it," he told ESPN.com. No one has rushed for 100 yards on LSU this season. If Richardson breaks into the LSU secondary, he'll have to get past a fellow All-American in LSU cornerback Tyrann "Honey Badger" Matthieu. Alabama leads the overall series, 45-25-5. But let's not forget that LSU will be playing in its home state of Louisiana. Yes, each team gets a certain number of tickets, and yes, Alabama borders on the east. But the mindset of it being a home game will be there for the Tigers, and they have been looking forward to it.
LSU coach Les Miles
"There's no other place we wanted to play," LSU Coach Les Miles said in comments on the LSU Web site, when the team arrived in New Orleans earlier this week. "I promise you that at the very beginning of this year, really as early as when our team voted to accept the Oregon game and play Oregon early in the year, they really pointed at this game. They wanted to qualify for this game. It was a feeling that the staff, that the team had really all along. For us, there's no other place for us to play. This is right where we needed to be." Think of New Orleans and Atlanta as the SEC's de facto capital cities. Alabama coach Nick Saban, himself a fan of playing in New Orelans, took a lot from the November loss. "The big thing that we've tried to focus on in terms of what we learned in that game is the technical aspects of things that we could have done better, maybe from a schematic standpoint, maybe from an execution standpoint," Saban told The Associated Press. The hunch is that there will be more offense in this game than in the November game of the century. Alabama has the talent to win this game, but I keep thinking of those spectacular outbursts that LSU can make on both sides of the ball. LSU 24, Alabama 23-- William Hennelly