|A collective sigh of relief at LSU before facing Ohio State|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 02 December 2007 18:50|
``Not only did we get the coach, but we get the chance at the national championship,'' Bertman said. ``Going in to the weekend, we didn't know either one of those.''
After head coach Les Miles said Saturday he would stay at LSU instead of possibly going to Michigan, the Tigers beat Tennessee 21-14 in the Southeastern Conference championship game. Then, the team spent Saturday night watching both Missouri and West Virginia lose.
There was a tense atmosphere as players awaited the BCS selection show from university's football operations center Sunday.
``The dang TV kept cutting to commercials,'' said running back Jacob Hester. ``They announced Hawaii first and didn't announce their opponent until the very end. It was kind of nerve wrecking, but I have never been so happy to hear Georgia Bulldogs in my life.''
Georgia, which had hoped for a national title shot, instead was sent to the Sugar Bowl to play Hawaii. Teammates screamed and embraced each other throughout the announcement of LSU as a title game participant.
LSU (11-2) will be the first team in the BCS title game with two losses. The top-ranked Buckeyes are 11-1.
Many Tigers felt their hopes for a national title had waned after falling to Arkansas.
``It is something a lot of guys never thought we would have the opportunity to have after we lost to Arkansas, but the guys just kept on fighting and controlled the things they could control and now we are going on to play in the championship,'' LSU safety Craig Steltz said.
Bertman said the Tigers had proven through their play they deserved the berth, especially since both losses came in overtime to Kentucky and Arkansas.
``This team is the only team that was undefeated in regulation, has the best power rating with the strength of schedule, and it had a lot of injuries,'' Bertman said.
Miles said the team will take a break and then prepare for the title game.
``This is a whole different ball game,'' Miles said. ``Very rarely do you have this opportunity. There's only one of these games.''