BCS Implications for Prude, Smith

Another series of bowl games for the top NCAA football powerhouses comes to an end Monday, and there are two Ravens that will be watching the BCS National Championship game closely.

One, however, will eventually be disappointed.

A heated matchup between Troy Smith's Ohio State Buckeyes and Ronnie Prude's Louisiana State Tigers should prove to be a fitting end to a wild college football season.

With more than a month since the final college football combatants were named, there was plenty of time for the Ravens teammates to flaunt their respective alma maters.

"Their playing some of the best football around," Prude said of LSU (11-2), who is favored despite being the only two-loss team to ever compete in the BCS title game. "They're doing really good down there. The defense is outstanding - taking care of business by shutting people out and just playing hard-nosed, and the offense has two quarterbacks that can move the ball with anyone."

Smith countered with an endorsement of his own for the 11-1 Buckeyes.

"They are so strong on defense, if they can get into a rhythm on offense, good things might happen," said the rookie quarterback, who will be in attend the game in New Orleans.

Once the outcome is decided, there is likely to be more razzing between the duo. Prude, a Shreveport, La. native that started 13 games as a senior cornerback in 2005, shares a fierce loyalty to his home-state school that is akin to Smith's.

Smith, hailing from Cleveland, played in last year's BCS Championship as a Heisman Trophy-winning signal-caller. The Buckeyes lost to Florida in a 41-14 blowout.

"I'm always going to be a Buckeye and am very thankful for all the opportunities the school has given me," said the fifth-round draft choice.

For two guys that have so much pride in their universities, a loss would be unthinkable, as would the payment of whatever is at stake.

Both Prude and Smith decided to keep their gentlemen's bet close to the vest.

"I'll just say it's going to be fun," said the defensive back, who coyly predicted a 24-14 LSU victory.

Fun, at least, for the winner.

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