It was a perfect storm over the weekend. Baylor beat Oklahoma, Oregon got beat by USC, and Iowa State stunned Oklahoma State on Friday. Now, we're looking at the SEC West occupying the top three spots in the nation!
What does this mean for our LSU Tigers and for the SEC? Well, there are several different scenarios.
First, let's break down the Alabama scenario: The possible paths for the Tide are pretty simple: They just need to keep winning. If they beat Auburn in the Iron bowl, they'll know what happens on Saturday afternoon, because LSU will have already played on Friday.
Things are a bit more complicated for the possible scenarios for LSU and Arkansas. The winner of the LSU/Arkansas game has two different paths: If LSU is victorious, they go to the SEC Championship game. If Arkansas wins, you'd think that would knock LSU out of #1, but LSU may already be strong enough to be in the BCS championship game.
What's unique about Arkansas: With a tiebreaker between three teams, you take the top 2 in the BCS. Arkansas would need to beat LSU to move ahead of the Tigers. If the Razorbacks win the day after Thanksgiving, they'd move into the top 2, and they you go head-to-head. Head-to-head would be among Arkansas and Alabama. The Tide beat Arkansas, so Alabama would go to the SEC Championship game, and Arkansas won't get to go to Atlanta...BUT, that victory over LSU means they'd be on a track to the BCS championship game. From a scenario of playing 2 games, Arkansas may only have to play ONE to get to the BCS Title Game.
Now the best thing for LSU, of course, is to just keep winning! But in the land of "what if," it will be interesting see what happens if Arkansas does win over LSU...how far would LSU slide, one spot or two? Because, now, everyone would have one loss at this point. If we were then talking about having all one-loss teams at the top of the BCS rankings, I would think LSU's resume should allow them to remain in the top 2, or 3, and still have a chance at the national championship. If LSU slides to #3, the Tigers are still alive for the national championship, because 'Bama would go to the SEC Championship...and a Georgia victory over the Tide in Atlanta would make Alabama a two-loss team. Then, you'd be looking at a possible LSU-Arkansas rematch in the title game.
What happened over the weekend almost guarantees that the SEC will have two teams in the national championship game! Auburn would really have to throw the things off the rails by beating Alabama; otherwise, I think that two teams from the same division of the same conference will fight it out in the Big Game.
I’ve said this before: There are a lot of SEC-haters out there who would really not want to see an all-SEC BCS championship game. But, I’d say to the haters: "Who's left? Who else would you put in there?" I mean, Stanford, who isn't going play for their conference championship? Oklahoma's got two losses, Oregon's got two, Virginia Tech is currently a one-loss team but they play at rival UVA this weekend...There are some huge, meaningful games to be played, but now, it's out of the rest of the country's control. The rest of the NCAA has to sit back and watch the SEC fight it out.
As I mentioned, LSU might be strong enough right NOW to get into the BCS Title Game, win or lose against the Razorbacks. If Arkansas somehow wins, the Hogs will move up in the BCS rankings...and that only makes LSU's resume stronger! Arkansas will be #3 this Friday when they face LSU. The Tigers already beat #2 'Bama on the road, they beat and they beat #3 Oregon at a neutral site. So some people feel that if LSU gets beat by Arkansas, the Tigers still deserve to be in the final game. So, Friday, we may already know at least one of the teams going to the BCS Title Game.
Lastly: Does this weekend's shakeup in the top 5 argue for or against a playoff system? I say it shows that we DON'T need a full playoff system, maybe just a plus one or plus two format added in to what we already have…Where the winners of the Orange and Fiesta play in a national semi-final and the same for the Sugar and Rose, and then those winners square off until we get the best team. I'm one of those who think that the college football season really is already a 12-game playoff system, and eliminates teams by wins and losses. Now, it's a matter of survival at this point, and what resume you've built up over 12 weeks. This weekend's BCS-busting upsets will stir up the talk about playoffs, but when a season like this happens, these teams continue to move up (or move down,) and it always plays out in the end.