LSU, OKLAHOMA TO DECIDE NATIONAL TITLE

On the strength of its win in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game last night, LSU moved up into the No. 2 in the Bowl Championship Series to earn the right to play in the Sugar Bowl, the national title game for 2004.<br><br>The Tigers will meet No. 1 Oklahoma on Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. in the Louisiana Superdome.

The Sooners, despite a 35-7 loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship Game, hold the same 12-1 record as LSU.

This marks the second Sugar Bowl invitation for LSU in three years. The Tigers beat Illinois in the 2002 game after claiming the SEC title for the 2001 season.

We're obviously very happy to go to Sugar Bowl and play a fine team like Oklahoma has," said LSU head coach Nick Saban. "Our players are very excited about the opportunity."

LSU will be playing in its second BCS bowl game and fourth straight bowl under Saban.

LSU's last national championship in football game in 1958 when the Tigers finished the season 10-0. They had already been awarded the title before they met Clemson in the 1959 Sugar Bowl and won 7-0.
Despite moving up to No. 1 in the Associated Press and coaches' polls, Southern California was denied an opportunity to play for the national championship. The Trojans fell to No. 3 in the BCS rankings despite a lopsided win over Oregon State.

USC took the biggest hit in the BCS standings from the computer polls that are figured into the rankings. The Trojans' strength of schedule dropped when two of their non-conference opponents, Notre Dame and Hawaii, both lost Saturday.

The Trojans will meet No. 4 Michigan in the Rose Bowl, which has traditionally paired Pac 10 and Big 10 teams against each other. The other BCS games feature Miami and Florida State in the Orange Bowl and Kansas State against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.

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