Pinkel thinks LSU, Alabama deserve to play for national title

Sunday, December 4, 2011 | 10:01 p.m. CST; updated 8:18 a.m. CST, Monday, December 5, 2011

COLUMBIA — After he answered plenty of questions about his own team’s bowl game, Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel sounded off on another matchup: the BCS National Championship Game.

After Oklahoma State’s blowout victory over Oklahoma on Saturday, many thought the Cowboys deserved to play No. 1-ranked LSU for the national title instead of Alabama.

Pinkel wasn’t one of them.

He voted LSU and Alabama — two of the Tigers’ new conference-mates in the SEC — as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country on his USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll ballot.

"The BCS got it right," Pinkel said Sunday night. "Whether people want to admit it or not, they got it exactly right. I think they have the two best teams in the country. ... The system was designed to get the two best teams playing. And it worked."

Missouri junior wide receiver T.J. Moe wasn't as convinced that the BCS title game should feature a rematch between LSU and Alabama.

"Coach Pinkel thinks so. I think Alabama had their shot," Moe said. "The thing is, when you (Oklahoma State) have an offense that good, you never know what’s going to happen. I haven’t seen anyone slow down Justin Blackmon this year, or Brandon Weeden. They’re always getting their points. It’s hard to stop. I know OSU’s good, we’ve watched them dominate all season long. Now, we’re going to watch more field goals here."

LSU and Alabama will square off in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 9. Oklahoma State will head to the Fiesta Bowl, where it will play Stanford on Jan. 2. These two games, along with the rest of the BCS bowl games, were officially announced Sunday night. Wisconsin will play Oregon in the Rose Bowl (Jan. 2), Michigan will play Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl (Jan. 3) and Clemson will play West Virginia in the Orange Bowl (Jan. 4).

Independence Bowl close to home for Washington

The Tigers will be heading to the Independence Bowl to play North Carolina on Dec. 26, and there’s one player who will be extra excited to head to Louisiana: sophomore wide receiver L’Damian Washington, a Shreveport native.

Sophomore quarterback James Franklin said Washington was on a plane back from Shreveport when the announcement was made, but he had heard about the possibility of going to the Independence Bowl before he got on the plane and he tweeted his excitement.

“I know that’s going to be a blast for him,” senior wide receiver Jerrell Jackson said. “His family doesn’t get to come every game, so it will be right in his city, and that’s a blessing for him.”

Both Franklin and Jackson said Washington is constantly talking about his hometown.

“L’Damian, he tells me stories about his home city,” Jackson said. “He thinks it’s the best city in the dang nation.”

Franklin said he doesn’t think playing in front of home fans will make Washington ask for more balls thrown his way. But, Franklin added he probably will throw to Washington a little more anyway.

Franklin and Jackson, who are both Texas natives, said the Independence Bowl is also a nice destination for  other Tigers players given its proximity to the Lone Star State.

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Curt Hockaday December 5, 2011 | 12:57 p.m.

I am a Mizzou fan, of course, but I was disappointed to see coach Pinkel put OK State all the way down in 4th on his ballot, behind Stanford. Sour grapes?

(Report Comment)
Russell Barclay December 6, 2011 | 8:53 p.m.

I judge it prudent to make nice to the SEC teams we will play in coming years. Fie on the Big Twelve.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith December 7, 2011 | 6:04 a.m.

"I judge it prudent to make nice to the SEC teams..."

A wise stance if you're from MU, but if you're from UMKC, UMSL or MS&T does it make any difference? Check the University of Missouri System web site, "Facts & Figures," to learn how many of the System's students those three campuses now represent.

Play in the Big 12, in the Big 10, in the SEC, on the Moon or Mars - who cares?

(Report Comment)
Tom Sweeney December 8, 2011 | 1:08 p.m.

I think coach Pinkel is correct that Alabama and LSU may be the best in the nation. But since they have already played, I think an Alabama or LSU vs OSU would be a lot more fun to watch. Give someone else a chance to see a different style of football. Defense wins games and titles, but a great offense is a lot more fun to watch. They win a lot of games also.

(Report Comment)

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