Alabama still hearing talk of LSU

HOOVER, Ala. -- The talk won't go away. Alabama versus LSU, two games that defined a college football season, isn't going away anytime soon.

Eight months after Round 1, Alabama tight end Michael Williams is still asked about the touchdown he had wrestled from him by LSU safety Eric Reed. Six months after Round 2, Alabama coach Nick Saban can't get through an interview without being asked whether a team that didn't win a conference championship should play for the BCS title.

At SEC media days Saban didn't do much to sidestep the controversy that's burned through the offseason and into the start of Alabama's 2012 campaign. Never mind that the Crimson Tide wiped the Superdome floor with the Tigers, the question remains if they should even have been there.

"To me, it should prove the value of a good football team who loses a game, loses a chance to win their conference championship in overtime to a very, very good team, LSU, that goes on to win the rest of their games," Saban said. "I don't know why they should be eliminated."

Saban brought evidence to the table, too.

"Kentucky and North Carolina play a basketball game, one of them lost, but everybody wants to see Kentucky and North Carolina playing in the championship game," Saban said, reaching deeper for another example. "In the NFL you lose. You might not even win your division. You might be a wild-card team. You still get in the playoffs. You still have a chance to win the Super Bowl. You still have to play your way in."

But Saban wasn't pointing his fingers at anyone in Hoover. The blame, to him, lies with the conference's detractors.

"To be honest with you, whoever is making the statements about conference champions is really making a statement against the SEC and against any league who has more than one good team who would qualify, trying to enhance the opportunity for somebody from their league to get in," he said.

For the players' part, they've saved any thought of LSU for the week of Nov. 3, when the two schools will meet for Round 3.

Williams was upset when he lost what could have been the winning touchdown against LSU last November -- the one that might have kept all this talk from happening -- but he didn't let it become too big an issue.

"I was down that night and had the 24-hour rule," Williams said. "I got up, ran and got that out of my mind and went on to finish the season."

Now if everyone else could follow his cue.