DEVILLE: LSU gets a second chance at No. 1

Seldom do you get a second chance. Sure enough, in real life that might not be the case. People get second chances all the time. However, college football isn't quite real life.

Not even close, actually.

For the second time this season, the LSU Tigers find themselves on top of the college football world. Les Miles and his Tigers are on the mountaintop looking down at the rest of the college football world heading into week 11 of the season.

With LSU's 58-10 win over Louisiana Tech last Saturday, the Tigers moved back into the top spot in all major polls, which were released on Sunday.

LSU benefited from Ohio State's 28-21 loss to Illinois on Saturday, which allowed the Tigers to rise back into the No. 1 spot.

LSU spent two weeks as the nation's No. 1-ranked team in early October. The Tigers leapfrogged USC after a 34-9 win over Tulane on Sept. 30 and secured the top spot by themselves with a 28-24 win over Florida on Oct. 6.

However, a triple-overtime loss at Kentucky on Oct. 13 cost the Tigers the No. 1 ranking and LSU fell to fifth. It had been the first time LSU was ranked No. 1 during the season since 1959.

Throughout the second half of October, the Tigers began moving up in the nation's top five with wins over then-nationally ranked Auburn and Alabama. LSU was elevated to the No. 2 spot after beating the Crimson Tide, thanks in part to Boston College's loss to Florida State.

The Buckeyes, who lost their first Big Ten game in three seasons, plummeted to seventh in both the AP and Coaches Polls.

LSU tops the AP poll, followed by Oregon, Oklahoma, Kansas and West Virginia. The Tigers lead the way in the Coaches poll as well, trailed by No. 2 Oregon, Kansas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia.

The Tigers received 40 of the possible 65 first-place votes in the AP poll, followed by Oregon with 22. Oklahoma, Kansas and West Virginia all received one first-place vote.

In the USA Today Coaches poll, LSU picked up 35 of the possible 60 first-place votes. Oregon nabbed 13, while Kansas received seven, Oklahoma four, and West Virginia one.

LSU's win on Saturday coupled with losses by Auburn and Alabama also secured the Tigers a spot in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta on Dec. 1, meaning LSU will make its fourth title game appearance in the last seven seasons.

So what does all of this mean in the big picture?

LSU has two regular season games remaining against SEC West foes Ole Miss and Arkansas. The Rebels are the worst team in the league and are currently the only SEC team with a losing record.

The Razorbacks continue to underachieve despite possessing the best player in the country in running back Darren McFadden.

Both of these games are likely victories for LSU. The Tigers shouldn't have any problem with either Ole Miss or Arkansas, but that hasn't been the case in recent years.

Aside from a 40-7 whipping in Oxford in 2005, the annual Tiger-Rebel clash has been eventful. A year ago, LSU needed a fourth-quarter rally and overtime to dispose of Ole Miss.

The last two games against Arkansas have been too close for comfort. The Tigers eased past the Hawgs 19-17 in 2005 and needed a 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Trindon Holliday last year to escape Little Rock with a 31-26 win.

However, both the Rebels and Razorbacks aren't nearly as good this season as they were a year ago.

Unlike the last time LSU was ranked No. 1, the level of upcoming competition isn't nearly what it was when the Tigers faced Florida, Kentucky, Auburn and Alabama in consecutive games.

The Tigers should take care of business the next two weeks and cruise into the SEC Championship Game, most likely against Tennessee. The SEC East has been anyone's guess this season, and only the Vols and Georgia remain in serious contention for a berth in the championship game. Tennessee has remaining games against Vanderbilt and at Kentucky. The Bulldogs host Kentucky in their SEC finale before traveling to Georgia Tech in the last week of the season.

Should the Volunteers lose a game, Georgia would be headed to Atlanta to face LSU. However, judging from Tennessee's 34-13 throttling of Arkansas, don't expect the Vols to lose to the Wildcats or Commodores.

The Tigers will most likely face Tennessee in the SEC title game with a trip to the national championship game hanging in the balance for Miles and Co.

It does provide some consolation to think if the Volunteers do make it to the Georgia Dome, that would mean the SEC East champion had been blown out by both Florida (59-20) and Alabama (41-17).

On the flip side of that, remember what happened the last time LSU and Tennessee met in the SEC Championship Game when national championship implications were involved? The Tigers beat the Vols 31-20 and spoiled No. 2 Tennessee's shot at a Rose Bowl date with top-ranked Miami.

Don't think Phil Fulmer has forgotten that.


Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to host another tailgate party for our loyal subscribers.

However, my wife, Beth, serves as president of the South Louisiana chapter of the Centenary Alumni Association, and she hosts a tailgate party one weekend during LSU's season for Baton Rouge area members.

On Saturday, we co-hosted a joint tailgating venture with subscribers and Centenary alumni. The afternoon was a rousing success.

Thanks to Centenary public affairs director Carla Alsandor for her hard work. She and other Centenary alumni donned their special "Centenary Football" t-shirts, which proudly state on the back that the Gents have been "Undefeated in Football since 1948."

FYI, Centenary disbanded its football program in 1948.


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

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