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Monday, November 13, 2006


Don't freak out when you read the next sentence. But I was glad Arkansas beat Tennessee Saturday night, thus eliminating LSU from winning the SEC West via a three-way tie at 6-2 among LSU, Auburn and Arkansas.
I didn't want Tennessee to win, because then I would have had to explain the tiebreaker system to you readers. As fate would have it, though, I mistakenly wrote in Monday's papers that LSU could still win a three-way tie with those teams. I regret the error.
LSU can now only represent the SEC West should it win out against Ole Miss on Saturday and at Little Rock against Arkansas next Friday if Arkansas loses to Mississippi State on Saturday. I can't see that happening.
But again, don't freak out. LSU is, in a way, better off that it will not be going to the SEC championship game in Atlanta. If the Tigers win out, finishing 10-2, they are going to Florida for either the Capital One Bowl in Orlando or the BCS Orange Bowl in Miami. If LSU would win the West and win the SEC title game against Florida, it would go to the BCS Sugar Bowl. That's in New Orleans, which is still a great city, but LSU has not been to the Orange Bowl since the 1982 season. It was just in New Orleans for the 2003 Sugar Bowl.
Now, it would be great to see an LSU-Florida rematch in the SEC championship game, and it would be fun for LSU to return to New Orleans. But LSU is much better off not going to the SEC title game than it would be if it went to the SEC title game and lost. That would mean it could fall to the tired and overrated Cotton Bowl.
So forget about the SEC championship game folks. LSU at 10-2 - with no chance to be 10-3 - will be one of the most attractive SEC teams for the bowls, particularly if Arkansas beats Florida in the SEC title game after losing to LSU.
It's amazing how things work out in this crazy, no-playoff world. LSU beat Auburn, Florida and Alabama last year and got a lesser bowl than all three of those schools. This year, LSU lost to Auburn and Florida and could end up getting a better bowl than both of those.


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