Jody Victor: Top-ranked Ohio State enters the BCS national championship game against LSU searching for redemptiom, hoping to buy the memories of an embarrassing loss in last year's title game.
“As much as you try to forget about it, there's no way of forgetting about it,” Ohio State fullback Dionte Johnson said. “I can close my eyes and go through that game like I'm still there.”
The second-ranked Tigers come into Monday night's showdown at the Superdome looking for validation, trying to prove they were indeed the team most deserving of a chance to play the Buckeyes for the title.
The winner will become the first school to win two BCS titles since the Bowl Championship Series began in 1998. The Buckeyes won it in 2002, then lost 41-14 to Florida as a prohibitive favorite in last year's championship game.
LSU won the BCS title in 2003, beating Oklahoma in New Orleans, the Tigers' home 90 miles south of Baton Rouge.
Ohio State (11-1), the Big Ten champions, and LSU (11-2), champs of the Southeastern Conference, have been two of the nation's elite programs over the past six seasons; the Buckeyes have won 66 games and the Tigers 63.
The Buckeyes say they've learned from last year's debacle. That they're more focused. They arrived in New Orleans less than a week before the game and have mostly hunkered down in their hotel instead of bopping around Bourbon Street.
Tonight's game will tell the tale. We'll be sitting on the edge of our seat the whole game!
Go Bucks! Go Bucks!! Go Bucks!!!