THE TITLE MATCHUP

MIKE KERN:

As a Harris poll voter, I went with Ohio State No. 1, followed by Louisiana State. OSU was the only champ from a BCS conference that had only one loss. And last week, I still had LSU ahead of Georgia. Georgia lost big at Tennessee, and didn't make the SEC final. LSU beat Tennessee in the SEC final and had a 6-1 record against ranked teams. I know it had some close calls, but both its losses were to good teams, in triple overtime. Even though Oklahoma beat Missouri twice, it also lost at Colorado and Texas Tech. USC, which didn't have many marquee wins, lost at home to Stanford. And Virginia Tech lost by way too many at LSU. To me, it's always been about a body of work. In my opinion, LSU's resumé is slightly better than any of the other two-loss teams. But it's probably splitting hairs. Quick question: If there were a four-team playoff, who would be left out?

ED BARKOWITZ:

LSU vs. Ohio State: Nobody's body of work for the year is more impressive than LSU's, including Ohio State. The Tigers won the championship game of the toughest conference (with a backup quarterback, no less) and own the best non-league win in that 48-7 September pounding of Virginia Tech. Factor in that their two losses each required three overtimes and LSU would be my top choice. Ohio State has five victories over winning teams and its loss, a close one to Illinois, is reasonable. The Buckeyes get the other nod. Oh, and spare me Hawaii. The Rainbows (12-0) played two teams with winning records, Boise State and Fresno State. Yawn. Oklahoma has more of a claim.

BERNARD FERNANDEZ:

Ohio State isn't the best team in the nation, and maybe not the second best, but it gets one spot because it's hard to keep out a No. 3, one-loss team from a BCS conference after Nos. 1 and 2 lose. The Buckeyes should be paired against LSU, despite its warts, because let's face it: If all the possible contenders are fully healthy and the title game is played at a neutral site (which the Louisiana Superdome wouldn't be), the Tigers probably are at least a slight favorite over any of them.