In the fall of 2003, very few LSU fans - even the most rabid - thought that in just four months their Tigers would be playing for a national championship and the BCS crown.

The Tigers, who finished the season 13 - 1, were led by Coach Nick Saban, then beginning his fourth year at the Tigers' helm. But after finishing a trying SEC schedule with a record of 7 - 1, LSU battered a very good Georgia team in the SEC championship game, then took on Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.

The '03 regular season ended with three one-loss teams in championship game : the Tigers, Oklahoma Sooners and the Southern Cal Trojans. USC ended the regular season ranked No. 1 and LSU No. 2. Controversy ensued when the BCS computer-based selection system chose LSU and Oklahoma as the participants in the BCS title game, based mostly on the difficulty of the three teams' schedules.

Most LSU fans remember that Saban's charges topped the Sooners 21 - 14 to capture the crown, and the majority could even tell you that the Tigers' QB that season was the workmanlike Matt Mauck. But most would be hard pressed to remember the game's MVP, LSU running back Justin Vincent, who led the Bengals with 117 yards rushing and a touchdown.