Could mighty LSU wind up in a non-BCS bowl? Er … maybe

Good news, Les: You probably won't fall as far as the Chick-fil-A Bowl. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Don't worry, Leslie: Your darn strong team won't fall as far as the Chick-fil-A Bowl. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Speaking of the BCS …

Raging consensus holds that LSU will play for the national title no matter what it does Saturday and that the  Tigers’ opponent Jan. 9 will again be Alabama. But there’s a slight — slight, let me emphasize — possibility the team that has been No. 1 in every week of the BCS rankings might land in a non-BCS bowl. (And here let me thank esteemed colleague Kevin Whaley for bringing this to my attention.)

Say LSU loses to Georgia by three touchdowns. Say No. 3 Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma by three touchdowns. (By way of comparison, Georgia is No. 14 in the BCS standings to OU’s No. 10.) Say there’s a major Oklahoma State groundswell in the human polls. Say LSU slides to No. 3 in the final rankings behind Oklahoma State and Alabama, the latter of which cannot lose this weekend because it isn’t playing.

Know where LSU,  the team that has been the nation’s best from September through November, would be headed? To Orlando for the non-BCS Capital One Bowl. Or to Dallas for the non-BCS Cotton Bowl.

I say again: I don’t think that will happen. Given the Tigers’ strength of schedule — three victories against opponents in the BCS top 10 — and glowing SEC profile, it’s hard to imagine them suffering a Boise State-like fate. (One loss and you’re relegated to the Maaco Las Vegas Bowl.) But if Georgia beats LSU, it goes to the BCS-affiliated Sugar Bowl as SEC champ. If Alabama stays No. 2 or ascends to No. 1, it’s in the BCS title game. And the only way a conference can send a third team to a BCS game is if two of them are playing for the national title and neither is the conference champion.

I say yet again: I don’t think that will happen. Should LSU lose, the debate would become: Who are the two best one-loss teams? At this moment, LSU would figure to have the most impressive body of one-loss work, but the voting won’t be done at this moment. Balloting — and computer-tabulating — will occur late Saturday night, and voters tend to rely most on what they saw last. And what if they just saw the Tigers lose 35-14 to a team that, according to the BCS rankings, is the SEC’s fifth-best?

Never forget that this is the BCS, where weird happens. In 2003 unbeaten and top-ranked Oklahoma lost by 28 points to Kansas State in the Big 12 championship, and somehow the Sooners stayed No. 1 in the BCS rankings. In 2007 once-beaten and top-ranked Missouri lost by 21 points to Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship and didn’t even wind up in a BCS game. (But Kansas, which Missouri had beaten two weeks earlier and which finished two spots behind the Tigers in the BCS rankings, did. Georgia wasn’t the only team that got short shrift in ‘07.)

For the fourth or fifth time: When the standings are announced Sunday night, LSU and Alabama figure to be Nos. 1 and 2 (or 2 and 1) even if Georgia topples the Tigers. And that would look funny, too. A national championship game would pair a team that didn’t win its conference against one that didn’t win its division? But that’s the BCS: It’s always going to look funny. Smell funny, too.

By Mark Bradley

595 comments Add your comment

Trashy

November 30th, 2011
8:32 am

Saban smells too…

GWJ

November 30th, 2011
8:33 am

BCS is a joke!!

Marco Dawg

November 30th, 2011
8:33 am

padre

November 30th, 2011
8:34 am

what a scenario-ist

Doggg from Thomson.....

November 30th, 2011
8:35 am

fifth!… lol… good morning, Mark!…

Doggg from Thomson.....

November 30th, 2011
8:38 am

this is the correction police …
Mark said: “Should LSU lose,”
Doggg said: “When LSU loses,”

Believing!!… I am., Doggg! =)

Honky Talkin

November 30th, 2011
8:40 am

Step away from the LSD Mark. Georgia has a zero chance of beating LSU.

Twilb Dawg

November 30th, 2011
8:41 am

I hope to be yelling “look at the sugar falling from the sky” at around 7:30 on Saturday! I can think of no better way for the Bulldog Nation to honor Larry Munson.

Beachdawg

November 30th, 2011
8:41 am

To support your (or your colleagues’) argument; if LSU got beat that bad by UGA, a team that EVERYONE has criticized the schedule===LSU couldn’t HELP but drop in the polls, huh?
Doesn’t it seem like a Plus 1 is the more immediate solution?

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

November 30th, 2011
8:42 am

Other than a win over a three loss Penn State and an over rated Arkansas (no defense) where exactly is Bama’s “body of work”? It doesn’t exist. Bama had their chance vs LSU and spit the bit. Bama has not earned another shot at LSU, they let their shot at home on Nov 5th.

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

November 30th, 2011
8:44 am

*left their shot*

Roll Tide

November 30th, 2011
8:44 am

LSU will win and the dominance of the SEC West will be on display once again.

Davis

November 30th, 2011
8:45 am

Bradley, well played. I still say, let the best conference champs, from the 2 best conferences, go at it in the big game. Nothing else is fair or objective. All LSU or Alabama had to was WIN THEIR CONFERENCE.

If LSU can go, with 2 losses in 2007, but conference champion, you have to be FAIR & CONSISTENT, and say LSU & Bama are OUT and Georgia’s IN, because, as Jim Rome, Kirk, and so many others argued BACK THEN, you have to win your CONFERENCE.

I don’t think the MARGIN of victory matters, win by 1 point.

But to me, if Georgia wins, it’s not a CHAMPIONSHIP, if you have 2 NON CHAMPIONS playing against each other in Bama & LSU.

Saban’s wrong, it’s not about the 2 best teams, Georgia was the best team in 2007.

It’s about the 2 best CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS.

Dixie

November 30th, 2011
8:45 am

Sorry Mark…thanks for all the false hope but LSU isn’t going to lose. Dogs will get beat by at least 17 points. Great season for Ga but we ain’t gonna will this one.

Frank Lane

November 30th, 2011
8:45 am

We just need to take care of business. No “ifs” to it.

HawkDawg

November 30th, 2011
8:45 am

I hope LSU is reading everything that everyone is saying and begins to drink the Kool-Aid. For the Dawgs . . . . getting fired up and angry.

rhbDAWG1

November 30th, 2011
8:46 am

The BCS doesn’t want LSU to lose. I would not be surprised to see some phantom “holding” calls if The Dawgs are close in the fourth quarter.

Paul in NH

November 30th, 2011
8:46 am

Wasn’t the issue in 2003 that the computer polls counted for 2/3 of the BCS points and that resulted in Oklahoma staying #1 even with a 28 point blow out? I think the BCS formula was changed after that fiasco.
The fact that LSU would likely be in the BCSCG even with a loss to UGA to play an Alabama team that didn’t win its division, much less conference, just shows the absurdity of the whole thing.

sec champ is king

November 30th, 2011
8:47 am

The BCS system might not exist in a couple of years, but the SEC will. SEC champ is more substantible than BCS champ. Go Dawgs!!

DawgInaTruck

November 30th, 2011
8:47 am

We can’t worry about it, we are not a part of that discussion regardless. We simply need to focus on LSU and LSU alone. This is by far our biggest challenge in quite some time. If we can find a way to win that game and get to the Sugar Bowl, this Dawg couldn’t care less where other teams go bowling; we will have had an amazing season regardless.

Roll Tide

November 30th, 2011
8:48 am

Other than a win over a three loss Penn State and an over rated Arkansas (no defense) where exactly is Bama’s “body of work”? It doesn’t exist. Bama had their chance vs LSU and spit the bit. Bama has not earned another shot at LSU, they let their shot at home

Where is Georgia’s body of work? New Mexico State, Vandy, and Kentucky is a hell of a schedule

rhbDAWG1

November 30th, 2011
8:50 am

If the Dawgs are close in the fourth quarter, look for some “holding” calls against us.

Paul in NH

November 30th, 2011
8:50 am

If professional sports followed the BCS formula NONE of the current champions (Packers, Bruins, Mavericks, Cardinals) would even have been allowed to play for their championships.

Mark Bradley

November 30th, 2011
8:50 am

I believe the BCS formula was changed after 2003, Paul in NH. The BCS loves to tinker after the fact.

timthebrave

November 30th, 2011
8:51 am

No chance of that happening Mark. Even if LSU loses by 40 instead of 21 they are in the dance..Why even print this article?

Tar Tar Sauce

November 30th, 2011
8:52 am

Safe to say we will have another SEC National Champion. Pas Duh $ugah
:)

Honky Talkin

November 30th, 2011
8:52 am

@rhbDAWG1: UGA will be down by 28 points in the 4th quarter.

kimmer

November 30th, 2011
8:52 am

For LSU to lose to UGA by three touchdowns they would have to suspend the entire starting defense and their back-ups. So that aint happening. Bama is the one who should be worried because if OSU puts a whipping on OU they might fall victim to the groundswell.

Mark Bradley

November 30th, 2011
8:52 am

You really think a 40-point loss would keep LSU ahead of Oklahoma State (assuming it wins) and Alabama, tim?

Chi Town

November 30th, 2011
8:52 am

Respect, Saban.

Puppies will get killed Saturday afternoon.

bdawg

November 30th, 2011
8:53 am

That would be awesome just to illustrate the utter stupidity of this system

Davis

November 30th, 2011
8:53 am

Even Les Miles said in 2007, many times, that only the conference champion should play for the National Championship.

The Dawgs have a shot...

November 30th, 2011
8:56 am

I think some people need to be careful with their words. All of these people saying that Georgia has zero chance of upsetting LSU may be eating their words.

LSU is a fine football team that has proven they are among the best in college football. However, Georgia has a lot to play for and quite frankly… the circumstances surrounding this game are priming Georgia to pull off an upset.

You have the death of one of the most beloved UGA sports figures. You have people dissing the Dogs and their recent success on the field. More importantly, you have a football team that has reeled off a ten game winning streak since being embarrassed in their first two games.

LSU has already been told by the “talking heads” that this game doesn’t matter. They are going to the national championship. They are the “best team” in college football.

The Dogs have the motivation and desire to prove something. LSU … not so much…

I’m predicting this to be a close game and give UGA better than a 40% shot of winning it. There have been plenty of teams that were “too good to beat” that have been upset or nearly beaten by unranked teams. Georgia certainly has the talent and the ability to upset LSU.

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

November 30th, 2011
8:56 am

Troll Tide, Ga is not begging to be given a second chance at a BCS title after losing at home. My question remains. Kent State, North Tx, Vandy, Ole Miss, Tenn, Miss St, Ga Southern. Ya’ll don’t deserve a title shot. Period.

Blair Miss Project

November 30th, 2011
8:56 am

LSU 48 – Blair Walsh 12 UGA goes to the Crapital One Bowl

Davis

November 30th, 2011
8:57 am

Mark, it’s nice to see your leadership on this issue.

I’ve noticed that ESPN “JOURNALISTS” just go with majority opinion.

In 2007, they all went along with you have to be conference champ to go to the National Championship. No one wanted to be the minority opinion.

Now, in 2011, they’re all, except for maybe an Ex-UGA lineman, all saying you do NOT need to win your conference. Just going along with majority opinion.

How can they take 2, TOTALLY CONTRADICTORY, positions?

Conference champion, or not? Can’t go 1 way OVERWHELMINGLY in 2007, then go the other way OVERWHELMINGLY in 2011.

Cohutta Dawgman

November 30th, 2011
8:58 am

Send Bama to the Capital One Bowl. That’s a pretty good reward for a 2nd place team.

rhbDAWG1

November 30th, 2011
8:58 am

honky talkin – That’s possible, possibly even likely. I seem to remember similar talk in 2007. This championship game is the least that was acceptable for LSU this year. It is huge vindication for us this year. Maybe we’ll fold and be down as you say. Possibly we won’t. Carpe Diem DAWGS!!

brick

November 30th, 2011
8:59 am

As a diehard UGA fan, we will have to play a perfect game and LSU will have to help us out a little, but its football and anything can happen. But to the BCS, back in 07 when UGA went into the last weekend 6 spots ahead of LSU, but didn’t play for our conference championship, LSU beat UT and jumped us in the rankings because according to the talking heads, “no team that doesn’t play for their conference championship” should be in the NC game. Bama had their shot, they choked, missing 4 FGs, nor did they score a TD against LSU. Explain how a team that can’t score a TD, didn’t play for their conference championship deserves a chance to play for the NC. Bama’s signature win was against Arky and PennST. Well that PennSt win is right up there with the AU win as the season played out, Arky was a quality win, but nothing else screams “we deserve to play for the national championship” except the Bama fans, who will claim the championshp even if they don’t play in the game, they are taking credit for the Barns.

William Conrad as Frank Cannon

November 30th, 2011
8:59 am

You gotta be smokin a big fat spliff if you think UGA has a chance.

Alphare

November 30th, 2011
9:00 am

Mark, you said “what if they just saw the Tigers lose 35-14 to a team that, according to the BCS rankings, is the SEC’s fifth-best”.

That’s why I said the conference should never allow the 5th best team in the conference to play in the conference title game. I said a few times in other blogs.

Festus

November 30th, 2011
9:02 am

Them thare Bayou Boys are gonna whup some dawgies ice this sarudee in them thare Dome.

AU Liberal in ATL

November 30th, 2011
9:02 am

rhb-conspiracy nut. NUT!

Roll Tide

November 30th, 2011
9:03 am

Troll Tide, Ga is not begging to be given a second chance at a BCS title after losing at home. My question remains. Kent State, North Tx, Vandy, Ole Miss, Tenn, Miss St, Ga Southern. Ya’ll don’t deserve a title shot. Period.

And you believe your Georgia team has a shot this weekend? Try beating a sorry Boise State team that dominated the pups earlier this year. You are just another delusional fan still pissed about not getting that title shot in 2007.

tyler durden

November 30th, 2011
9:04 am

Wow…you know, if aliens come down from the sky on Saturday and shoot laser beams out of their a$$es and hit all the LSU players UGA might jave a chance….I mean, you never know…it isn’t totally impossible…

superDawg

November 30th, 2011
9:08 am

The DAWGS have a better chance than any one else,so you can shove your opinion up your whatchamacallit!

munsondawg

November 30th, 2011
9:08 am

I remember a few years ago crushing LSU on their home turf on a saturday afternoon in tiger stadium. I was there. If I remember clearly, a lot of people said we didn’t have a chance then. It was fun watching the LSU fans leave their own stadium in the 3rd quarter.

Dawglasville

November 30th, 2011
9:08 am

Oklahoma State should, if it beats Oklahoma, play in the title game. It should be LSU vs OK St. (I’m conceding the SEC game). Can the human poll put OK St over Bama?

DetroitBraves

November 30th, 2011
9:09 am

Going back a little farther, in 2000 Miami beat FSU head-to-head and had the same record as FSU but FSU was higher in the BCS, owed mostly to having a more quality loss (ignoring that it was a loss to the team they were being compared to), and Miami was left out (as was Washington who also had the same record but had beaten Miami). In 2001 Nebraska didn’t even win their division of the Big XII after being destroyed by Colorado at season’s end and yet they managed to keep a #2 standing before being blown out in the Rose Bowl for the BCS title. What happened to Mark Cuban? I thought he was going to fund a playoff and kill the BCS.

StungByAYellowJacket

November 30th, 2011
9:09 am

Call me a crazy Jacket Fan (which some of you will) but I believe Ugag will indeed win this game, not because their the better team overall, but they will have more to play for in this game. lsu probably will be in the national championship game regardless of the outcome of this game (unless they are somehow blown out very badly), Ugag will be playing for a bcs game (sugar bowl) bid so this one is one that Ugag will be more focused on than lsu. However, I have been wrong before (boise state game), Ugag might get beat down in the Dome (again) on Saturday… We shall see…