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November 6, 2012

Breaking down LSU's bowl situation

LSU's opportunity of appearing in the Southeastern Conference championship game is all but gone.

The Tigers still have a slight chance to represent the Western Division in the title game. LSU must close out with victories against Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Arkansas. Texas A&M must defeat Missouri. Finally, Alabama must lose to the Aggies and Auburn, which is winless in the SEC.

In that scenario, LSU would finish in a three-way tie with Alabama and Texas A&M. The deciding tiebreaker would be divisional record. The Tigers and Aggies would be 5-1 in the division, while Alabama would be 4-2. LSU would represent the West because it won the game against Texas A&M.

But, one result - Alabama losing to Auburn - will most likely not occur. So, the most pertinent question involves the Tigers' postseason destination.

Given that Alabama will be in the national title game, there are six other SEC teams closely bunched in the standings. Those six teams will fill six bowl slots - Sugar, Capital One, Outback, Cotton, Chick-fil-A and Gator.

Currently, the pecking order of the next six SEC teams is Georgia, Florida, LSU, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Mississippi State. LSU would probably be slotted in the Cotton Bowl against the best Big XII team not in a BCS bowl.

However, the Tigers could move up the list by winning out and having Georgia and Florida lose a game. The Bulldogs have a potential meeting against Alabama in the SEC title game, while the Gators close the regular season at Florida State. So, a BCS bowl bid for LSU is a possibility.

"Understand that we're a good football team," LSU coach Les Miles said. "In a few ways, Saturday proved that. We have to play like that the last three games and see how things come out. Ending up in a BCS bowl certainly can happen."

At this point in time, the SEC's representative in the Sugar Bowl will probably be matched up with a team from the Big XII or the ACC. If upsets do not occur, the two most likely opponents would be Oklahoma or Clemson.

"We recognize that our season is not over," quarterback Zach Mettenberger said. "A 10-2 season is a pretty dang good season. Ten wins are hard to come by in this league.

"Getting ten wins and playing in a good bowl game is still a pretty good season. It sucks that we won't be in the BCS championship game, but we still have a lot to play for."

Here is the body of work of the top six SEC teams after Alabama.

FLORIDA

Overall record: 8-1
SEC record: 7-1
BCS standings: No. 6
Record against BCS teams on pace to win eight games: 3-1
Remaining games: Louisiana-Lafayette, Jacksonville State, at Florida State

GEORGIA
Overall record: 8-1
SEC record: 6-1
BCS standings: No. 5
Record against BCS teams on pace to win eight games: 1-1
Remaining games: at Auburn, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech

LSU
Overall record: 7-2
SEC record: 3-2
BCS standings: No. 7
Record against BCS teams on pace to win eight games: 2-2
Remaining games: Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Arkansas

MISSISSIPPI STATE
Overall record: 7-2
SEC record: 3-2
BCS standings: No. 21
Record against BCS teams on pace to win eight games: 0-2
Remaining games: at LSU, Arkansas, at Ole Miss

SOUTH CAROLINA
Overall record: 7-2
SEC record: 5-2
BCS standings: No. 8
Record against BCS teams on pace to win eight games: 1-2
Remaining games: Arkansas, Wofford, at Clemson

TEXAS A&M
Overall record: 7-2
SEC record: 4-2
BCS standings: No. 15
Record against BCS teams on pace to win eight games: 1-2
Remaining games: at Alabama, Sam Houston State, Missouri


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