1-2 punch in NCAA

TODD SAELHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:38 AM ET

CALGARY - No 1. vs. No. 2.

LSU vs. Alabama.

But it’s not for the national championship.

And that’s OK by the country’s three other unbeatens — OK State, Stanford and Boise State.

The showdown in Tuscaloosa, Ala., represents the most important game of the NCAA college football schedule to date. Heck, pundits are even hanging ‘Game of the Century’ and ‘Matchup of the Millennium’ monikers on this contest because never have two SEC squads met in the regular season while sitting one and two in the rankings.

It’s likely only the BCS Championship Bowl will trump LSU-’Bama during the season, although even that contest could pale in comparison to this tilt — both for entertainment value and in ramifications to the rankings.

This one could, indeed, shake up the nation.

As four-down football affairs go, the LSU Tigers against the Alabama Crimson Tide (8 p.m., CBS) is THE game. The result not only wildly effects their own standings — the loser will undoubtedly drop in the Top 25 rankings, while the winner remains undefeated and is in the driver’s seat to play for the national title — but it’s huge for the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 programs in the BCS Standings.

By sometime Saturday night, it could be one of those other three programs sitting in the No. 2 spot in the BCS Standings.

Unless, of course, they all suffer catastrophic losses at the hands of lesser-lights.

But even if they all win, it still could be LSU and Alabama at one and two in the standings.

Barring a blowout by one side, voters might just stuff the ballot boxes to keep them both atop the rankings.

That’s how strong these two teams are and how highly regarded the SEC is in four-down football circles.

Timing is everything on the road to the national championship. But don’t bet on this late-season game changing the BCS landscape.

It could just be a preview to the title game Jan. 9 at — where else? — the Louisiana Superdome.

FIRST DOWN

Just how big is the LSU-Bama game? Requests by media to cover it are nearing 600 … It doesn’t happen often, but the top-rated offence in the nation plays the top-rated defence in the country when West Virginia’s passing attack goes up against Louisville’s strong defence … It’s believed invites are in the mail to six schools — Boise State, Navy, SMU, Houston, Air Force and UCF — to join the Big East. Might as well call that conference the Big Wherever … Former Texas QB Garrett Gilbert will suit up just up the road with SMU, after agreeing to transfer to the June Jones-coached squad. Before joining the Mustangs, Jones coached Timmy Chang to an NCAA-record 17,072 passing yards in Hawaii.

FOURTH & GOAL

Senior QBs are spinning records these days, and Houston’s Case Keenum is topping the charts. Chasing Chang’s mark, the Cougars pivot is poised to become the NCAA’s all-time top passer, needing just 267 yards in Saturday’s game against lightweight UAB, which can’t defend against the pass. Last week, Keenum threw nine touchdown passes — five of them caught by receiver Patrick Edwards — in a 73-34 destruction of Rice. With it, Keenum broke the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision all-time record of 135 TD passes set by Texas Tech’s Graham Herald a week after he became the FBS career leader in total offence. On the game, Keenum tossed 534 yards, while Edwards rolled up 318 yards … Next up among QB marks to fall is the ones for most wins, as Boise State pivot Kellen Moore will surpass former Texas star Colt McCoy with 46 when the Broncos smash host UNLV Saturday night … And how’s the record of yours truly? A second straight bad week of 1-3 put me at 21-15 overall. My, how the mighty are falling.

todd.saelhof@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNToddSaelhof


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