DEVILLE: No titles, but BCS still possible

It was one of those wacky days in college football.

It seems every season has one of those days where nothing seems to go according to plan.


Across the nation, it was the day of upsets. And, the day when the national championship picture got even clearer. When Saturday began (er… Thursday actually if you count the weekly Big East Game of the Century), there were at least nine teams with one loss or less that felt they had a legitimate shot at the national title game.


By the time Saturday's dust settled, four more elite teams joined LSU in the ranks of the coulda, woulda, shoulda, leaving each respective fan base waiting until next year.


Louisville, Texas, Auburn and California all lost this week eliminating each team from possible national championship game consideration.


The Cardinals, who were fresh off an upset of previously No. 3 ranked West Virginia, may have been looking past upstart Rutgers and were more focused on playing the role of BCS party crasher.


Instead, it is now the Scarlet Knights who are demanding respect and building their case for a national title game berth after rallying to beat Louisville 28-25 last Thursday night.


Rutgers stands at 9-0 and is currently ranked No. 8 in the latest ESPN Coaches Poll. The Scarlet Knights are just one of four remaining unbeaten teams in the top 25 joining Nos. 1 & 2 Ohio State and Michigan as well as No. 10 Boise State. That number will be reduced to at least three teams after this weekend when the Buckeyes and Wolverines meet in Columbus on Saturday.

Texas watched quarterback Colt McCoy go down in the first quarter and with him, its title hopes when Kansas State upset then No. 4 Texas 45-42 in Manhattan.


Auburn was a team that had gotten pretty much every break one team could get in a season – just ask the LSU Tigers and the Florida Gators. But Tommy Tuberville's Tigers ran out of luck Saturday when Georgia, who came in 6-4 (which included losses to Vanderbilt and Kentucky), rolled up Auburn 37-15 in dominating fashion.


The Bulldogs' Tra' Battle had three first-half interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown as Georgia dropped the homestanding Tigers to the ranks of the twice-beaten.


Then there was California.


Finally, ESPN analyst Lou Holtz can stop blabbering about the Golden Bears playing for the national title. Cal went on the road to Arizona and got zapped 24-20 by the Wildcats. That's right, the same Wildcats LSU pounded 45-3 in Tiger Stadium. Some national title contender.


So what does all this mean to LSU?


Actually, not a lot in terms of the national title race. The Tigers were eliminated from that debate when they lost to Florida.


However, check out this week's poll. LSU has jumped up to No. 9 in the latest Coaches Poll and will likely climb into the top 10 of the BCS Standings.


The Tigers have little chance to make it to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta after Arkansas tightened its stranglehold on the SEC West by dominating Tennessee 31-14 in Fayetteville Saturday. LSU needs the hawgs to lose to Mississippi State (not gonna happen) for LSU to play for a shot at a ticket to Atlanta on the day after Thanksgiving.


While it is likely the Razorbacks and Florida Gators (who have already clinched the SEC East) are going to play for the SEC title, LSU is still in terrific position to reach a BCS bowl game with an at-large berth.


By the time the Tigers get to Little Rock, the Hawgs are going to be ranked somewhere around fourth or fifth in the poll. This means LSU will face its fourth straight top 10 road opponent of the season.


A victory in ‘The Rock' will raise LSU's overall record to 10-2 and boost the Tigers to somewhere around No. 5 in the top 10 poll, and no telling how high in the BCS. However, one would have to think a win over Arkansas on the road would be enough to solidify LSU's place in a BCS bowl game.


Once LSU reaches its third BCS bowl game in six years, the Tigers have a chance to finish out the year in the top five for the second straight season. That's pretty good for a team that was once dead and buried at 4-2 and looked to be going nowhere.


LSU fans still harp on the fact that the Tigers possess national championship talent, but no one could have expected any team to go on the road and run the table against what will turn out to be four top 10 opponents.


A top five finish, a BCS bowl game and an 11-2 record will be a superb accomplishment for this team and further solidify LSU's place as one of the top programs in all of college football.




Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger Rag magazine. Reach him at

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