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Don’t rule out a split for national title

Reporting from New Orleans -- That was then, this is now, and this is how:

Many Louisiana State fans still don’t recognize the split college football title in 2003 after USC was awarded the Associated Press crown.

USC finished No. 1 in both regular-season polls but was No. 3 behind Oklahoma and LSU in the final Bowl Championship Series standings.

LSU defeated Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl to win the BCS title while USC claimed the AP title with a win over Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

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The AP recently polled its 60 voters, 44 of whom said they would consider voting for LSU even if the Tigers lose to Alabama in the BCS title game Monday night.

It would take a game similar to the 9-6 field-goal fest in Tuscaloosa in November.

We’re guessing LSU fans who still don’t recognize USC’s crown in 2003 will have no problem accepting a split title this time, right?

The strange part is that LSU might have a split-title case. The Tigers’ lock on No. 1 was fortified this week with an impressive Rose Bowl win by Oregon and a strong showing in the Sugar Bowl by Virginia Tech, which lost to Michigan in triple overtime.

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LSU defeated both schools in nonconference play.

Out on the town

Several Alabama players were seen milling around in the French Quarter on Wednesday night after arriving in town.

Anyone care to elaborate?

Quarterback AJ McCarron: “I’ll pass that question to them.”

Lineman William Vlachos: “I didn’t leave the room.”

Running back Trent Richardson: “So everybody’s going to put the question on me? I mean, yeah, it was different. We have a strip, but we don’t have a strip like that.”

Not looking ahead

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Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain is coaching this week despite having accepted an offer to become head coach at Colorado State. The dual-responsibility role hasn’t always worked out.

In 2000, Florida State offensive coordinator Mark Richt coached the Seminoles in the title game after being named Georgia’s coach.

Richt’s offense was held without a touchdown in a 13-2 loss to Oklahoma.

“It’s been a challenge,” McElwain said Thursday.

McElwain said he is fully engaged in preparations for the title game while also making late-night calls on behalf of Colorado State.

“As a coach, you don’t get any sleep anyway,” he said.

Grand entrance

Making the 80-mile trek from Baton Rouge to New Orleans in a bus wasn’t enough for LSU.

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The Tigers also had a helicopter escort.

“It’s exciting because none of us had ever seen anything like that,” safety Brandon Taylor said. “We saw it out the window and tried to wave. It is exciting because that shows how big the game is.”

LSU definitely has the home city advantage. The Tigers won their 2003 and 2007 BCS titles in New Orleans.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com


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