Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Quick Coaching Update


It looks like Washington Redskins assistant Jerry Gray is going to be the new head coach at Memphis.  As reported earlier, LSU running backs coach Larry Porter was a finalist for that job.  However, LSU is not out of the woods yet.  It seems that Larry Porter is still a candidate to become the offensive coordinator at Memphis.   Porter is LSU's ace recruiter and his departure would greatly affect LSU's recruiting class. 

Monday, November 23, 2009

"The Meltdown In Mississippi"


The fallout from Saturday's devastating loss to Ole Miss has been tremendous, and rightfully so.  Today, the national media took their turn using Les Miles as a punching bag, calling him everything from a "liar" to a "nincompoop."  I'd say they were being rather kind.  The coaching blunders, confusion, lack of control, and complete idiocy that took place in the final 1:17 of the game are inexcusable for a football team at any level, much less a supposed elite college football program like LSU. 

The coaching staff screwed up a number of things, but their worst decision may have been the one that's talked about the least.  I'm referring to the absolutely horrific call for a fade pass for the potential game-tying two point conversion.  And that was from the one yard line, since Ole Miss was penalized on LSU's first conversion attempt, also a fade pass.  Terrible, terrible call.  Gary Crowton needs to update his resume as soon as possible.  I'll always be thankful for the offense we saw in 2007, but that creativity and imagination is long gone from Crowton's brain...for whatever reason.  LSU's offense is stale.  It doesn't maximize talent.  It doesn't always play the best players.  And it has failed to create a way to utilize the most electric freshman in the country.  It's time for a new offense. 

Once LSU managed to cover the onsides kick, they moved the ball to the Ole Miss 32 yard line with two timeouts and plenty of time.   LSU was looking at a 49 yard field goal at that point.  Josh Jasper had already kicked a 50 yarder earlier in the game.  But a 49 yard field goal is no gimme, and LSU needed to try to get closer.  But you absolutely can NOT run a risky play and risk losing yardage.  You just can't do it when you're right on the edge of your kicker's range.  On first down, LSU threw a quick pass that got batted down at the line of scrimmage.  Fine.   But on second down, they inexplicably called for Jefferson to take a seven step drop with Ole Miss showing a blitz.  Jefferson was sacked.  They followed up that gem with a screen pass that was caught eight yards behind the line of scrimmage.  Those two moronic play calls lost LSU the football game.  The events that followed have earned the focus of critics across the nation and while they may have showcased the ineptitude of LSU's coaching staff a bit more clearly, the play calls on 2nd and 3rd down lost the game for the Tigers. 

The confusion and disbelief of the final play is only matched by the confusion and disbelief after the game.  Les Miles "didn't know" who told Jefferson to spike the ball.  The head coach doesn't know who sends the play calls to his quarterback?  Wonderful.  I could go on and on, but I'll stop.  We all know what happened, and I haven't talked to anyone yet who is real pleased with the coaching staff. 

Thus far, I've only discussed the circus on LSU's sideline during the final 1:17 of the football game.  What's maybe most disturbing is how poorly the Tigers were prepared for this game.  Ole Miss dominated the football game and frankly, LSU was very fortunate to be within striking distance at the game's end.  For the second straight year, I was forced to watch a less talented Ole Miss team shove a football up LSU's @$$ on national television.  I'm not real happy about it either. 

Why stop with the Ole Miss game?  LSU is one of the three most talented teams in the SEC, but the coaching staff has squandered that talent for the last two years.  LSU has compiled a 7-9 SEC record over their last 16 league games.  Of those seven wins, only two are against teams that finished, or will finish, with a winning record (South Carolina finished 7-6 last year, Auburn is 7-4 right now).  If Georgia wins their last game this year, they can increase that number to three.  LSU has also lost eight straight games against the likes of Florida, Alabama, Ole Miss, and Arkansas.   Les Miles is the fifth highest paid coach in the nation.  Do you feel like those results are indicative of having such a highly paid coaching staff?   Me neither. 

Many are talking about replacing Les Miles as head coach.  I've been a Les Miles supporter for a long time, but I can't support the stupidity I saw on the sidelines against Ole Miss nor can I support the declining results of a recently elite program.  For his sake, Les Miles needs to win the Arkansas game.  With a win against Arkansas, LSU will play in either the Capital One or the Cotton Bowl with a chance to end the season 10-3 and ranked in the Top 12 nationally.  LSU is not firing a coach who just completed a 9-3 regular season and is heading to a New Year's Day bowl game.  Not happening.  A loss to Arkansas will throw gasoline on this growing inferno, and then talks of a firing might have some validity.  If that happens, then we'll discuss the job security of Miles at that time.  As long as LSU has a chance to finish with a 10-win season, I prefer to focus on that as much as possible. 


Here are some pictures of the new Nike uniforms that LSU will wear against Arkansas on Saturday.  These uniforms were first reported here on this blog. 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ole Miss Preview


This is the third of three articles posted today.  Don't miss the other two, which are just below this one on the main page. 

LSU fans are ate up with the negativity this week after a very poor performance last Saturday against Louisiana Tech.  The offense ran the ball well and passed the ball poorly; however, the coaches kept calling pass plays.  It was maddening to watch.  The defense looked indifferent in the first half but they really tightened up in the second and played well.  But I do think some perspective is in order. 

LSU was playing with a severe "hangover" after putting everything they had into the Alabama game and coming up short.  That game is all anyone talked about all week, and that spilled over to the team.  Maybe it shouldn't have, but it did and it wasn't all that surprising.  Players even admitted to just going through the motions against Louisiana Tech.  LSU was also playing with their backup quarterback, backup running back, backup center, and backup tight-end.  Yea, it was just LA Tech, but it's understandable that the offense struggled. 

LSU's offense has not impressed this year.  However,  I felt they turned a corner after their bye week.  OK...maybe they slowly rounded a curve.  But the offense played very well against Auburn and then again against Tulane.   Neither Auburn or Tulane have a terribly good defense, but it was the style of offense that LSU used that was encouraging.  They were more aggressive in the passing game and they did a better job of getting the ball to their playmakers.  The offense played surprisingly well against Alabama until Jordan Jefferson got hurt.  And then....LA Tech.  I see the LA Tech game as the exception to the recent play of the offense.  Jefferson is supposedly back this week.  The hangover is over.  And I have a feeling that LSU's offense will play well against Ole Miss. 


When LSU Has The Ball:

The big question leading up to this game is "How healthy will Jordan Jefferson's ankle be?"  He has been practicing all week, and it appears that he'll be able to go.  Much of Jefferson's value is his mobility and ability to run with the football.  So even if he's ready to play, will he be able to do everything we're used to him doing?  LSU will need Jefferson at very close to 100% in order to win on Saturday.  The first downs that Jefferson picks up with his feet are invaluable. 

LSU will have to find some balance on offense against the Rebels' tough defense, but their best bet on moving the football will be through the air.  However, the Tigers have run the ball well for three straight games.  Filling in for the injured Charles Scott, Keiland Williams had one of the best games of his career.  I, for one, was not surprised in the least.  Throughout his entire career, Williams has always performed in a big way when given significant carries (eight or more) in any one game.  LSU will need him to come through in a big way on Saturday.  He'll be plenty motivated to finally receive an opportunity after playing behind Jacob Hester and Charles Scott over the past few yers.  Stevan Ridley will be able to spell Williams while Trindon Holliday and Russell Shepard will look for the big home run. 

Ole Miss has a good defense, but not a great one.  They have played well at times.  But they've also shown the ability to get lit up, as they did when they played Auburn.  Only two teams have managed to score more than twenty points against the Rebels.  Auburn scored 33 while Alabama scored 22.  I feel that LSU will have to score more than 20 in order to win.  I think they will. 

When Ole Miss Has The Ball:

Ole Miss has a number of weapons on offense, and they're tough to defend as a result.  Everyone is talking about scat back Dexter McCluster, who broke an Ole Miss rushing record last week against Tennessee.  They use McCluster as a traditional running back, as a slot receiver, and also as the primary option in various Wildcat formations.  Last year, McCluster wasn't a big factor against LSU.  Hopefully, that will be the case again.  Harry Coleman gives LSU a weapon to help counter McCluster's unique skill set.  Running back Brandon Bolden is also a threat to run the ball. 

The Rebels' passing game has been erratic.  Quarterback Jevan Snead is very streaky.  He can look great when in a rhythm but can also look awful when the offense is out of sync or when he's pressured.  He is completing just 53% of his passes this year and has thrown a league high 14 interceptions.  He has a tendency to throw some balls up for grabs, and that's good news for LSU's defense who has nabbed twelve interceptions this year.  Since LSU's bye week, LSU has 12 sacks in four games, including five last week.  Getting pressure on Snead will be key to this game.  It will be interesting to see how often LSU blitzes this week.  They like to bring Harry Coleman on blitzes off the edge, but I imagine he'll be tasked with watching Dexter McCluster quite a bit. 

Senior receiver Shay Hodge (pictured) is quietly having an All-SEC caliber season.  He has 50 receptions, which leads the SEC, as well as six touchdowns.  McCluster is second on the team with 31 receptions.  No other wide receiver has more than 11 grabs.

I anticipate Ole Miss having some success against LSU from their Wildcat formation, but they'll struggle in more traditional sets.  I really like the match up of LSU's offense this week, and I have a strong feeling they're going to play very well. 

LSU 24
Ole Miss 20

Coaching Rumors


Entry #2 of the Friday tri-fecta.

One of the things I always like to follow is all of the rumors and possibilities regarding coaching changes. This year looks like it’s going to have a lot of activity, and LSU may be right in the middle of many of the changes.

Thus far, we’ve already seen one job come open at Memphis. Here is a school by school breakdown of schools that may have openings:

Memphis:  Memphis has already fired coach Tommy West, and their search for a replacement is underway. One name on their short list is LSU running backs coach Larry Porter. Porter played his college ball at Memphis and has many ties to the area. He’s also got an outstanding and well deserved reputation as a top notch recruiter. If Porter were to take the job at Memphis, then some of LSU’s current commitments may re-think things, most notably linebacker Justin Maclin. Porter is scheduled to interview with Memphis within the next week. Tennessee running backs coach Eddie Gran is a strong candidate and has reportedly already spoke to Memphis about the position. Some bigger names such as Terry Bowden, who is coaching at North Alabama, and Gus Malzahn, Auburn’s offensive coordinator, have surfaced as well. Memphis says they’d like to have a coach in place by November 30th, and that’s good news for LSU in case they should select Porter. LSU would then have plenty of time to repair whatever damage is done on the recruiting trail.

Louisville:  Head coach Steve Kragthorpe has been a huge disappointment at Louisville, and it’s almost a certainty that he’ll be fired after this season. Many reports have surfaced stating that Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach is interested in the position once it becomes available. Leach tried very hard to find another job after last season, and it appears he’s doing so again. He apparently wants to get out of Texas Tech, for whatever reason. Louisville offers him an easier path to win a conference championship and play in a BCS bowl as opposed to matching up with Texas and Oklahoma each year in the Big-12 South. I haven’t heard any other names regarding the Louisville job.

Notre Dame:  Head coach Charlie Weis is on a much publicized hot seat after losing consecutive games to Navy and Pitt. His team currently sits at 6-4 and has games remaining against UCONN and Stanford. In my opinion, the only way he even comes close to saving his job is if he wins both games. I don’t think that’s likely, and I think Notre Dame will be looking for a new coach in a few weeks. Notre Dame is going to be looking for the grand slam on this hire. First, I think they’ll throw a ton of money at Urban Meyer and make him say “No”. If Meyer wins another national title at Florida, perhaps he’ll consider leaving for a different challenge. It’s doubtful, but I do believe Notre Dame will at least ask the question. Bob Stoops has been a rumored candidate, but it’s tough for me to see him wanting to make a move. Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly’s name continues to come up, as does Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh and Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson.

Michigan:   After 32 straight years of going to bowl games, it looks like Michigan will now go two years in a row without a bowl appearance. When you’re the coach for those two seasons, it doesn’t give you a whole lot of job security. The poor performance on the field is not to be outdone by an ongoing investigation regarding Michigan’s misuse of practice time. Current and former players accused coach Rich Rodriguez of abusing the NCAA limits on weekly practice time. If this proves to be true, then Michigan can fire Rodriguez without having to pay any of his buyout. It would also make it easier to justify firing him after just two seasons. ESPN’s Mike Wilbon states that he’s heard Rodriguez is not going to be retained. So if this happens, is Les Miles going to be a top candidate? He’ll almost certainly be mentioned as a strong possibility. Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh may be considered the favorite this time around.

Colorado:  The word on the street is that head coach Dan Hawkins will be let go after this season. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise to anyone seeing as how Hawkins has failed to have a winning season during his four year tenure. The Buffs are currently 3-7. I haven’t heard much in terms of rumored replacements with the exception of Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

Kansas:  Kansas athletic director had a private meeting with the football players recently and has said that the status of head coach Mark Mangino is “under review.” Apparently, someone raised some issues about Mangino abusing players, both verbally and physically, at practice. Only 2 years removed from a 12-1 record and an Orange Bowl appearance, it seems highly unlikely that Kansas would be reviewing Mangino for his on the field results. This will be interesting to watch. Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin could be someone to watch.

Virginia:  Head coach Al Groh will almost certainly be shown the door after this season. One rumored replacement is Temple head coach Al Golden. Golden was the defensive coordinator at Virginia before taking over at Temple, where he currently has his team 8-2 and likely head to the MAC Championship Game. However, Golden was an assistant under Groh and it’s unclear whether they’ll want to completely sever all ties with Groh. Louisiana Tech head coach Derek Dooley is a UVA alum and his name gets mentioned some. While Dooley is still considered an up and coming young coach, LA Tech’s 3-7 record will make it tough for Virginia to hire him.

Some other names to keep an eye on in regards to LSU are:

Tyke Tolbert - Tolbert has been the wide receivers coach for the Bills for the past six years.  A former LSU player, Tolbert may be looking for a job since Bills head coach Dick Jauron was fired this week. 

Todd Monken - Monken was LSU's wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator under Les Miles in 2005 and 2006.  The Jaguars' head coach Jack Del Rio is on the hot seat and many speculate that Del Rio and his staff could be looking for work after this season. 

Bowl Outlook


First, I offer my apologies for not posting anything all week.  My 30th birthday along with a midterm took priority.  But to make it up to everyone, I'm offering up a Friday tri-fecta of posts.  I hope you find the time to enjoy reading all three. 

Here is our weekly outlook for the bowl games. Below is a recap of how each conference race is shaping up.

Florida and Alabama will play in the SEC Championship Game. The winner is likely headed to the BCS Championship Game while the loser will likely go to the Sugar Bowl.

Georgia Tech has clinched the Coastal Division Title and will play in the ACC Championship Game. In the Atlantic Division, Clemson can win the division with a win over Virginia this Saturday. Even if they lose, they can still win the division if Boston College loses one of their two remaining games against North Carolina and Maryland. Boston College can win the division by winning those two games and having Clemson lose to Virginia. In all likelihood, we’re looking at a Clemson vs. Georgia Tech ACC Championship Game.

Big East
Though the Big East doesn’t formally play a Big East Championship Game, they will be essentially playing one on December 5 when Cincinnati and Pitt square off. Cincinnati plays Illinois this weekend in a non-conference game and Pitt plays West Virginia. Regardless of what happens, their game on December 5 will be for a conference championship and a spot in a BCS bowl game.

Texas needs to win one of their two remaining games (Kansas, Texas A&M) to clinch the Big-12 South. Oklahoma State is mathematically still alive. They need Texas to lose both games, and they need to win against Colorado and Oklahoma. I think it’s safe to assume that Texas will represent the Big-12 South in the Big-12 Championship Game. The Big-12 North is a bit more competitive. Nebraska is currently atop the standings but Kansas State is just one game behind. Those two teams play this weekend, and the winner will win the division.

The Big-10 is easy since Ohio State has already won the conference. A lot of intigue remains in terms of BCS at-large spots, and I’ll go into that below.

The PAC-10 is very much up for grabs with several teams having a legitimate chance to win the conference. Oddly enough, USC isn’t even in the mix at this point. Here is what each team needs in order for them to win the conference:

Oregon: (@Arizona, vs. Oregon State) - The Ducks currently sit atop the standings with a 6-1 league record. If they win their remaining games, then they win the PAC-10. If they lose to Arizona and defeat Oregon State, then they’ll need losses from Arizona and Stanford in order to win the league.

Arizona: (vs. Oregon, @ Arizona State, @ USC) – Arizona needs to win their remaining games in order to win the PAC-10. While it’s good to control your own destiny, Arizona has a tough road ahead and I’d be shocked if they can win out.

Oregon State: (@Washington St, @ Oregon) – Oregon State controls their own destiny and wins the PAC-10 if they win their last two games. It’s pretty safe to assume they’ll beat Washington State. So we could have a de-facto PAC-10 championship game when the Beavers play the Ducks on Thursday night, December 3.

Stanford: (vs. Cal, vs. Notre Dame) – Stanford needs to beat Cal, and then they need some help. They need Oregon to lose a game, but they don’t want them losing to Oregon State. Their situation is tricky. They need Arizona to defeat Oregon and then for Arizona to lose another game. They then need Oregon to beat Oregon State.
So how are these races going to affect all the bowl games? We’ll once again run through the exercise of the BCS bowl selection process and see what we come up with.

First, the top two teams are slotted for the BCS title game:

BCS Championship Game: Texas (Big-12 Champion) vs. Florida (SEC Champion)

Then, the conference champions with automatic tie-ins are sent to their respective bows. So we get:

Rose Bowl: Oregon (PAC-10 Champion) vs. Ohio State (Big-10 Champion)
Orange Bowl: Georgia Tech (ACC Champion)

Next, the bowl games that lost their automatic tie-ins to the BCS Championship Game get first selection. Since the Sugar Bowl lost Florida, who is ranked ahead of Texas, they pick first. They’ll make the easy selection and pick Alabama.

The Fiesta Bowl picks next, and their selection is currently very much up in the air. It seems that a 10-2 Iowa or a 10-2 Penn State team are the favorites. I have been thinking that Penn State would get the nod due to them being a bigger national draw; however, the rumblings seem to have the Fiesta Bowl favoring Iowa. Iowa’s fan base travels just as well as Penn State’s, and the Hawkeyes did beat Penn State on the field. A serious wild card is Oklahoma State, who quietly sits at #12 in the BCS…ahead of both Iowa and Penn State. The Fiesta would love to replace Texas with another Big-12 team. However, Oklahoma State closes their season with a trip to Oklahoma which will be tough for them. If they win that game, they’re almost certain to head to the Fiesta Bowl. If they lose, it’s looking more and more like Iowa will be the selection.

The Orange picks next, and I think it will be tough for them to pass up TCU, who will be ranked no lower than fourth in the BCS standings. I think the Orange would pass on Cincinnati, who came to the Orange Bowl last year and only brought about 12,000 fans. If Pitt wins the Big East, they may be an option.

The Fiesta is up again, and it will be tough for them to pass up Boise State who will be ranked around sixth in the BCS. It would be hard for them to justify skipping over a team ranked so high. However, if they chose Penn State with their first pick, then a Penn State / Pitt match-up has to look attractive to them. As things stand now, I see an Iowa vs. Boise State match up.

The Sugar is then forced to select the Big East Champion to play Alabama, which I’m projecting to be Pittsburgh.

Thus, we’re left with:

BCS Championship Game: Texas (Big-12 Champion) vs. Florida (SEC Champion)
Rose Bowl: Oregon (PAC-10 Champion) vs. Ohio State (Big-10 Champion)
Orange Bowl: Georgia Tech (ACC Champion) vs. TCU (at large)
Sugar Bowl: Alabama (at large) vs. Pitt (Big East Champion)
Fiesta Bowl: Iowa (at large) vs. Boise St. (at large)

Onto the SEC bowl games:

It looks like this week’s LSU/Ole Miss game may be for a spot in the Capital One Bowl. The loser could head to the Cotton Bowl. Here’s what I see:

Capital One Bowl: LSU vs. Penn State
Outback Bowl: Tennessee vs. Wisconsin
Cotton Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Oklahoma State
Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Georgia vs. Clemson
Music City Bowl: Arkansas vs. North Carolina
Liberty Bowl: Auburn vs. Houston
Independence Bowl: South Carolina vs. Texas A&M
PapaJohns.com Bowl: Kentucky vs. South Florida

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Another Look At The Bowls


LSU's bowl picture became a bit clearer with their loss to Alabama on Saturday, and they now seem to be on a crash course with the Capital One Bowl in Orlando. With Penn State losing to Ohio State last weekend, the Nittany Lions appear to be the likely opponent. Here is the deal with the Capital One Bowl.

If LSU wins out and finishes 10-2, then they're a lock to go to Orlando. In all likelihood, Alabama and Florida will finish their season undefeated which means that both will go to BCS bowl games. After the BCS bowls select their teams from the SEC, the Capital One Bowl must select the team with the best record or a team within one game of the team with the best record. In this scenario, LSU would be 10-2 and no other team would have less than four losses. That means they must select LSU. If the Tigers win out, can they do better than the Capital One? Yes, it's possible.

LSU can potentially play in the Sugar Bowl, but it will take some help. LSU will need Alabama (at Miss State, at Auburn) or Florida (at South Carolina, vs. Florida State) to lose a game in the regular season. Then, that same team would have to lose again in the SEC Championship Game. The Sugar Bowl would then have to decide between a two loss LSU team that has won three games in a row and an Alabama or Florida team that has lost two of their last three. With other things being equal, history shows that the SEC Championship Game loser does not receive the benefit of the doubt. This scenario is not likely to occur, but the possibility does exist. Root hard against Alabama and Florida the rest of the way (as if I needed to tell that to any of you).

What if LSU loses a game? Things would then get a bit more interesting. If that loss were to Ole Miss, then it's possible that LSU and Ole Miss would both be 9-3 with Ole Miss owning the head to head matchup. LSU would still be ranked higher than the Rebels in the polls and would probably be the more attractive match up to the Capital One Bowl...but they'd have a tough decision to make. It's a good enough reason to root for Tennessee this weekend against the Rebels. Auburn also has just three losses right now, but LSU owns the head to head matchup against them. They also still have to play at Georgia and against Alabama. If they did manage to win out, they'll have a lot of momentum and could end up in Orlando ahead of LSU.

Staying focused on the Capital One Bowl, let's talk about the SEC's opponent from the Big-10. Just like for the SEC, the Capital One Bowl gets first selection of Big-10 teams after the BCS bowls have made their selections. Ohio State's big win over Penn State last weekend sets up a big showdown with Iowa this weekend for the Big-10 championship. The Buckeyes are a big favorite, and I think they'll win the conference and go to the Rose Bowl. A strong possibility exists that three teams from the Big-10 will finish with identical 10-2 records. Iowa, Penn State, and Wisconsin will all finish that way barring an upset. The first question is whether any of these teams will be selected as an at large team for a BCS game. I don't THINK they will but it depends on how high they can climb in the polls. So the Capital One Bowl will have a difficult decision. Penn State will likely be the highest ranked of the bunch, though not by much. However, Iowa beat Penn State on the field. My guess is that since Iowa will have two late season losses, they'll be passed over by Penn State who hasn't been to the Capital One Bowl since the 2002 season.

Enough of the Capital One Bowl...how did last weekend's events shake up the BCS bowls and other SEC bowls? Quickly looking at each conference, here's what's at stake down the stretch of the season:

Big East
Cincinnati is undefeated. West Virginia has one conference loss. Pitt has one loss but is undefeated in the conference. Cincinnati hosts West Virginia this weekend. West Virginia hosts Pitt on November 27. Pitt hosts Cincinnati on December 5. Each of the three teams controls its own destiny for a Big East title. The possibility exists that while other conferences play their conference championship games on December 5, the Big East will be playing their own between Cincinnati and Pitt. Whoever wins their games will go to a BCS bowl game.

The winner of this weekend's Ohio State / Iowa game will most likely win the conference. The big question is whether any of the 2-loss teams will sneak into a BCS game as an at-large selection.

Oregon is in the driver's seat for the PAC-10 title, but they have three very tough games remaining vs. Arizona State, at Arizona, vs. Oregon State. If they win two of those three, then I believe they'll represent the PAC-10 in the Rose Bowl. If USC wins out and finishes 10-2, they're a lock for a BCS bowl game as an at-large selection with the Fiesta Bowl the likely destination.

Big 12
The race for the Big-12 North is interesting. Kansas State is currently 4-2 in conference with Nebraska close behind at 3-2. Those two play each other in a couple of weeks in a pivotal game. Nebraska just may be able to give Texas some trouble in the Big-12 Championship Game due to their outstanding defense. Oklahoma State has games remaining vs. Texas Tech, vs. Colorado, and at Oklahoma. If they win out, they'll be in the conversation for a BCS at large selection with a 10-2 record.

In the Atlantic division, Clemson just needs to win one of its two remaining games against NC State and Virginia in order to clinch a spot in the ACC Championship Game. That seems likely. In the Coastal Division, Georgia Tech just needs to beat Duke in order to clinch. That would set up a re-match of the game earlier this year that GA Tech won 30-27. The winner goes to the Orange Bowl.

Alabama is playing Florida for the national championship and a likely spot in the BCS Championship Game.

Here are my latest projections for the BCS Bowl Games and SEC Bowl Games:

BCS Championship Game - Florida vs. Texas
Sugar Bowl - Alabama vs. Pitt
Fiesta Bowl - USC vs. Boise St.
Orange Bowl - Georgia Tech vs. TCU
Rose Bowl - Ohio State vs. Oregon

Capital One Bowl: LSU vs. Penn State
Outback Bowl: Iowa vs. Tennessee
Cotton Bowl: Auburn vs. Oklahoma State
Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Georgia vs. Clemson
Music City Bowl:  Arkansas vs. North Carolina
Liberty Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Houston
Independence Bowl: South Carolina vs. Texas A&M
PapaJohns.com Bowl: Kentucky vs. South Florida

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

LSU To Wear New Uniforms Against Arkansas


Nike is unveiling their new "Pro Combat" uniforms by having ten schools wear different uniforms for one of their rivalry games in a few weeks.  So far, only Virginia Tech and TCU have been officially announced as schools that will be trying the new uniforms.  Some schools are doing "throwback" jerseys while some are doing brand new designs.  However, I've learned that LSU will also be one of the teams that will wear an alternate uniform, and they will do so for their game against Arkansas. 

LSU will wear an all white uniform with purple numbers and a gold helmet; however, the gold will not be "LSU Gold" but rather a shiny gold.  The uniforms look very similar to that of the University of Washington.  Have a look...

Thus far, this is the only picture of the uniform that has surfaced on the web.  A picture of the gloves that LSU's players will wear has turned up.  Here they are...

I'm curious to see the helmets, and I suspect more pictures will surface before Nike officially announces them on November 23.   Some more detailed pictures of some of the other schools has surfaced.  Here they are:

Florida State

Ohio State


This site appears to have cracked some secret code on Nike's web site, and they've identified all ten of the teams with at least one picture for each.  If you don't feel like clicking, the ten teams are:

Virginia Tech
Florida State
Ohio State

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bama Thoughts; Charles Scott Done At LSU


LSU played a tough game in Tuscaloosa but came up a little short in losing 24-15.  Neither team was ever in full control of this game until the final five minutes when it was clear LSU would not win.  While trailing 21-15 with just under six minutes to go, Patrick Peterson made a great play to intercept a pass at LSU's 31 yard line.  The refs incorrectly called the pass incomplete on the field.  The play was reviewed, and the replay official made the unconscionable decision to uphold the call on the field despite crystal clear video evidence that showed Peterson with possession of the ball and TWO feet in bounds (picture above).  If it wasn't crooked, then it's an example that the replay official is simply horrible at his job.  Horrible!  For most of us, an egregious mistake like that while on the job would get us fired.  LSU's earned an opportunity to try to win the game, and that opportunity was stolen from them. 

A number of other questionable calls also went against LSU, but I don't believe those, or the missed interception, were the key reasons LSU lost the game.  They sure didn't help.  But two things stand out to me that ultimately decided the outcome. 

First was injuries.  It's a pretty tough task to defeat the nation's third ranked team on the road.  But it's damn near impossible to win such a game when you lose your starting quarterback, your starting running back, your starting center, a starting outside linebacker, and most importantly your superstar cornerback.  Patrick Peterson was in and out of the game due to cramps, and his absence was significant.  Peterson was playing an incredible game, and he absolutely shut down Alabama receiver Julio Jones.  With Peterson out of the game, Jones made the biggest play of the game in scoring the game winning touchdown.  I'm not going too far out on the limb in saying that Jones doesn't make that play if Peterson is in the game. 

The second key to Alabama's victory was their strategy on offense in the second half.  They re-dedicated themselves to running the football with Mark Ingram and frankly...Ingram ran it right down LSU's throat.  The LSU defense had no answer to Bama's running game in the second half.  In my opinion, Ingram proved his worth as the SEC's most valuable offensive player on Saturday. 

LSU did make a few costly penalties in the game that were frustrating, but they otherwise played pretty well.  This game could have gone either way, and LSU just wasn't able to get it done. 

I originally planned to use this space to detail all of the bad calls that went against LSU and to rant and rave in excess about the missed call on Peterson's interception.  I decided against it.  Instead, I'm doing what I hope LSU's team is doing...and that is moving on.  A year ago, LSU nearly beat Alabama and never recovered.  They went to struggle against Troy before losing to Ole Miss and Arkansas.  LSU needs to ensure they play differently down the stretch this year, and that means they can't dwell on the Alabama game too long. 

The Tigers still have a whole lot left to play for.  With very winnable games against Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss, and Arkansas, LSU can finish this season with a 10-2 record and that would be huge for the program.  With tons of doubt surrounding last year's 8-5 record, rebounding with double digit wins would speak volumes that LSU's program is going to remain strong. 


Charles Scott broke his collarbone against Alabama on Saturday.  His season and therefore his career is over as an LSU Tiger.  Scott has been first class throughout his time at LSU.  He's been a hell of a running back, a team player, a leader and a great ambassador for the university.  I really can't say enough good things about him.  I wish him all the best as he prepares for his professional career.  Scott finishes his career seventh on LSU's all-time list for rushing yards and fourth in rushing touchdowns.  His career numbers are:

424 carries
2,317 yards
5.46 yards per carry
32 touchdowns

Below are some highlight's of Scott's career at LSU. 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Alabama Game Preview


LSU goes into Tuscaloosa with the SEC West Championship on the line.  If Alabama wins, they clinch the West.  If LSU wins, the tone of the season suddenly changes and they have the opportunity to accomplish some huge wins.  On the field, these teams mirror each other in many ways.  Both have stingy defenses, and both have offenses that have struggled at times but also looked good at times.  The difference is that LSU's offense seems to be improving of late while Alabama has regressed.  Something has to give. 

When LSU Has The Ball:

LSU's offense looked left for dead after their abysmal performance on the big stage against Florida.  But the coaching staff opened things up and the Tigers looked like most expected they would with a big performance against Auburn.  While Auburn's defense is a far cry from that of Florida or Alabama, it was the aggressive play calling that has people excited.  LSU successfully got the ball into the hands of their play makers, and they kept calling plays that worked.  They followed that up by having their most productive game of the year against Tulane which was expected. 

Even during the good performance against Auburn, LSU still struggled to run the ball consistently.  Their most consistent runner that night was Jordan Jefferson, and then they got one big play from Russell Shepard.  As much as LSU would love to control the clock by pounding Charles Scott between the tackles, it will be awfully difficult to do against Alabama.  Bama leads the SEC in rushing defense allowing just 64 yards per game and 2.2 yards per rush. 

Alabama's defense focuses on stopping the run on first and second down and then kicking the quarterback's ass on third and long.  Alabama's defense wants opponents to run it on first down.  They want opponents to do what they're supposed to do based on down and distance.  Therefore, it's imperative that LSU keep Alabama off balance if they want to move the ball.  LSU needs to get the ball to Brandon Lafell and Terrance Toliver on first down.  They need to utilize Jordan Jefferson in the running game.  They need to bring Russell Shepard into the game, and then get the ball to someone else from time to time.  Nick Saban loves to let his cornerbacks play man coverage, and LSU needs to take advantage of that with their two star receivers. 

Alabama's defensive front poses a problem for LSU.  Center T-Bob Hebert has struggled at times this year, and he'll have his hands full on Saturday trying to block Bama nose tackle Terrance Cody.  T-Bob gives up nearly 100 pounds to Cody, and LSU will probably solicit the help of one of the guards to help get him blocked.  When LSU passes, they need to get rid of the ball quickly or else Jefferson will face a lot of pressure. 

We saw some new faces in LSU's backfield last week against Tulane in tailback Stevan Ridley and offensive lineman turned fullback Thomas Parsons.  Both guys played extremely well.  When LSU uses a fullback, I expect that Parsons will get some looks along with James Stampley.  But in a game of this magnitude, I expect Les Miles to go with the veteran Charles Scott as his running back. 

It will be interesting to see whether LSU comes out firing with a creative game plan or whether they try the conservative approach with the primary focus on not turning the ball over.  The latter approach was successful at keeping things close against Florida, but it didn't really give the Tigers a chance to win the game.  Based on what the Tigers have done since then, I think we'll see some interesting things on Saturday. 

When Alabama Has The Ball:

Alabama's offense has been struggling lately, and those struggles begin with quarterback Greg McElroy.  Earlier in the season, Bama was able to run the ball effectively, mix in some play-action and methodically move the ball down the field.  They also hit some big plays going over the top.  But in Alabama's last three games against Ole Miss, South Carolina, and Tennessee, they've averaged just 18 points per game and scored a total of two offensive touchdowns.  

The focus of Bama's offense is running back Mark Ingram.  With a struggling passing game, teams have been able to key on Ingram but they still haven't been able to stop him.  He's leading the SEC in rushing with 125 rushing yards per game and a 6.6 yards per carry average.   They also use Ingram in the passing game and love to get him the ball on screens.  He has 19 receptions on the season. 

Bama's running game has been working, but the passing game simply can't get going. Greg McElroy has zero touchdowns and two interceptions over Bama's last three games.  It's a bit concerning to Alabama fans that they haven't been able to get the ball to Julio Jones, who was a star as a freshman a year ago.  Jones has just 20 receptions on the season.  As a comparison, Brandon Lafell has 38 and Terrance Toliver has 37.   Everyone keeps waiting for Jones to break out, but he's drawing a lot of double teams.  McElroy seems content to check the ball down to his tight-end and running backs.  Earlier in the season, Bama was able to hit some big plays over the top to speedy receiver Marquis Maze but those plays haven't been there lately. 

Concerning McElroy's check downs, starting tight-end Colin Peek is injured and it's unclear whether he's going to be able to play.  If he does, will he be at full speed?  This will be something to watch.  Peek has 19 receptions on the season. 

In the second half of Alabama's last game against Tennessee, the coaching staff completely lost confidence in McElroy's ability to move the football.  Instead they took the ball out of McElroy's hands and used Mark Ingram in a Wildcat formation almost exclusively.  LSU can expect to see a good bit of Wildcat on Saturday.  The way Bama's offense is going right now, if Mark Ingram doesn't make a big play then they're not going to get one. 

So how does LSU defend Bama?  It seems obvious that LSU can use Patrick Peterson to guard Julio Jones and ensure that his breakout performance doesn't take place Saturday.  The Tigers can then probably afford to dedicate one of their safeties to stopping the run.  The Tigers' defense just needs to keep doing what they've been doing, and I believe they can really give Alabama's offense some problems.  LSU's linebackers have been in the right place all year, and they've been tackling well.  They will need to do a good job of wrapping up and tackling Ingram when the opportunity is there.

Nobody is picking LSU to win this game.  I mean nobody.  Nationally, all anyone talks about is the SEC Championship Game between Florida and Alabama.  This does two things for LSU.  First, it pisses them off and that can't hurt.  But it also means that LSU really has nothing to lose.  Everyone thinks you're going to lose anyway, so you might as well pin your ears back and get after it.  Play loose.  Take a risk or two.  What the hell, right?  Les Miles excels in games like this, and I think he'll get his team in the right frame of mind on Saturday especially after learning from the mistakes made against Florida. 

Like everyone else, I expect a low scoring game where big plays and mistakes will be magnified.  Neither offense makes many mistakes and both defenses force turnovers.  However, I think LSU's offense has a much higher chance to make a big play than does Alabama's.  LSU also has a mobile quarterback which could help them pick up a few extra first downs.  But in the end, I think Alabama's defense will be a bit too much for Jordan Jefferson and LSU.   The Tigers' defense will play their tails off, but it won't quite be enough. 

Alabama 16  LSU 13

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Recruiting Recap


It's time to go over recruiting again.  The rumor mill has been busy regarding some of LSU's top targets, so we'll go through them all.  With 23 commitments on board, spots are limited in the Class of 2010.  But LSU is still recruiting a number of guys.  It will be interesting to see how the class finishes up. 

Zach Lee - McKinney, TX

None -- LSU is done at QB for this class

Spencer Ware - Cincinnati, OH
Brandon Worle - LaGrange, GA (fullback)

Notes: I think LSU takes at least one more back in this class and probably two if there's room. Seastrunk is the prize of the class to be the complement to Ware and Mike Ford from the Class of 2009.

Lache Seastrunk - Temple, TX:  Many consider Lache to be the prize of this recruiting class.  He's ranked in the Top 10 of most national lists.  Despite his propensity to bounce every run outside, he has serious speed and game breaking ability that you just can't coach.   I'm not sure he'll ever be a primary runner at the next level, but he'll still be a household name.  While things were looking great for LSU for a while, USC seems to have re-entered the picture in a big way and many are considering them the favorites now.  His rumored favorite will likely change a few more times before signing day, but LSU will be there until the end.  Lache has family in Louisiana, and that will go a long way.  Tiger fans will have to sweat this one until the end.  Auburn remains a strong possibility as well. 

Alfred Blue - Hahnville HS:   Many wonder whether LSU will take Blue if they're able to land Seastrunk.  The word continues to be that LSU wants Blue badly, no matter what happens with Lache Seastrunk.  After his performance at LSU's camp, the coaches have been recruiting him hard.  He reminds me of Rondell Mealey and even comes from the same district.  Blue continues to mention LSU and Ole Miss as his favorites but after reading his reaction from visiting LSU for the Auburn game, I think it's safe to say that LSU is the leader.

Jahkori Gore - Miami, FL:  Gore continues to be mentioned as a possibility for LSU.  A smaller, shiftier back, Gore has good game breaking ability despite not having blazing speed.  He's a good runner, but it's unclear where he stands with LSU.  If he wanted to commit today, would LSU accept it?  I have a feeling they would put Gore on hold while waiting to see what happens with Seastrunk and Blue. 

Mike Davis - Dallas, TX
Justin Hunter - Virginia Beach, VA

Notes:  It's also very important to note that commitment Mike Davis recently took a visit to Texas A&M. Two of his high school teammates are commitments to A&M, and he visited there to spend a weekend with them. However, rumors persist that he's considering joining his teammates there and that the visit could have been more than just a visit with friends. I really, REALLY like Davis as a prospect and I hope that LSU can straighten things out with him as soon as possible.

Trovon Reed - Thibodaux, LA:  Reed has long been considered to be the top player in the state of Louisiana, and I agree with that assessment.  Reed's small size has many questioning how well he'd fit into LSU's offense, which has been accustomed to having lots of success with bigger receivers.  Reed will be announcing his destination on November 13th.  Despite LSU's best efforts, it looks like Reed will choose Auburn next week.  He's excited about being able to play right away at Auburn.  Even though he'll probably announce for Auburn, LSU will continue to recruit him hard in efforts to sway him back home. 

James Wright - Belle Chase, LA:  For those who prefer a bigger, more physical wide receiver, Wright is a favorite.  At 6'2" and 185 pounds, Wright also has speed and good hands to be a complete receiver prospect.  He's putting up great numbers as a senior.  Wright likes LSU along with Alabama and Texas Tech.  It's my belief that he favors LSU and will ultimately choose the Tigers. 

Jarrett Fobbs - Shreveport, LA:   Fobbs has been committed to Texas A&M for a while now.  But the 5'11" 180 pound receiver is strongly considering LSU right now.  Originally, LSU only offered Fobbs as a defensive back but Fobbs wants to play receiver in college.  As time wore on, LSU came around and they now want him as a receiver.  With Reed likely announcing for Auburn next week, I think LSU stands a great chance of securing Fobbs. 

Nick Jacobs - Many, LA
Travis Dickson - Ocean Springs, MS

None - I think LSU is done at TE for this class

Elliott Porter - Shaw HS
Evan Washington - Dallas, TX
Jamarcus Hardrick - JUCO (originally from MS)
Cameron Fordham - Duluth, GA

Damien Robinson - Olive Branch, MS:  Robinson is a massive tackle prospect who has remained near the top of most rankings.  He's very quiet when it comes to recruiting and nobody really knows which way he's leaning.  He recently narrowed things down to a top six and LSU is included in that group.  Most believe he'll ultimately choose between LSU, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi State. 

James Stone - Memphis, TN:  Stone isn't quite as big as Robinson, but he's rated equally as high.  In my opinion, LSU doesn't stand as good a chance at Stone as they do with Robinson but they are in the hunt.  Stone is also looking at Bama, Tennessee, and Notre Dame. 

Dexter Blackmon - Selma, AL
Cassius Marsh - Westlake Village, CA

None - I think LSU is done recruiting true defensive tackles for this class though something could potentially happen down the road with Rissean Broussard or Byran Jones. 

Jordan Allen - West Monroe, LA
Houston Bates - Covington, LA  (possible LB)
Justin Maclin - Memphis, TN  (possible LB)

Notes:  LSU definitely looks to be after another defensive end in this class with J.R. Ferguson being the top prize. 

J.R. Ferguson - Chatham, VA:  Ferguson is a big-time prospect, rated as one of the nation's best high school prospects.  Ferguson is a big defensive end at 6'3" 270 pounds and has the body to eventually turn into an inside/outside defensive lineman similar to Pep Levingston or Ricky Jean-Francois.  Ferguson took an official visit to LSU last weekend with his father, and they came away very impressed.  They both have a real good relationship with defensive line coach Brick Haley.  Things are looking very positive on this one.  Ferguson is still going to take visits to Oklahoma and Notre Dame, and he's not close to making a decision yet.  Expect North Carolina and Miami to be in the mix for his services as well.  But from what I'm gathering at this point, I wouldn't trade LSU's position with anyone else.  Let's hope that holds up after he visits some other schools. 

Geneo Grissom - Kansas:  Grissom is a new prospect on LSU's radar.  Grissom is a commitment to Kansas, but a recent LSU offer seems to have him interested.  Grissom is 6'4" 230 pounds and highly rated by the recruiting services.  He may take an official visit to LSU and if he does, then you never know what could happen. 

Luke Muncie - Klein, TX
DJ Welter - Crowley, LA

Notes:  LSU is likely done at LB, but they're trying their luck with Ladarius Owens.

Ladarius Owens - Birmingham, AL:  Owens is a commitment to Auburn, and he's probably not going anywhere.  However, he does have legitimate interest in LSU and is considering an official visit.  John Chavis and the outstanding play of LSU's linebackers this year have peaked his interest.   Owens is an outstanding prospect and considered by most to be one of the top three players in the state of Alabama and one of the top linebackers in the nation. 

Ronnie Vinson - New Orleans, LA
Tyrann Mathieu - New Orleans, LA

None - I believe SU is done at CB for this class

Eric Reid - Dutchtown HS
Sam Gibson - Prattville, AL
Tharold Simon - Eunice, LA  (possible WR)

Notes:  Many speculate that Reid could ultimately move down to outside linebacker as he's already around 205 pounds.  Rumors are also persistent concerning academic and disciplinary issues with Tharold Simon.  It's unclear whether Simon can be counted on as part of this class. 

Targets:  None - I think LSU is done at S for this class. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Picture Me Bowling


We're close enough to the end of the regular season to start taking a look at some bowl predictions. Much will change between now and the end of the season, and these predictions probably won't be worth much next month. But we can still learn a few things and know what to look for as the regular season enters its final stretch.

I've brushed up on my BCS Bowl selection procedures, so we'll take a look at the BCS bowl games first. While many of these teams still have some tough contests remaining, we'll go ahead and project these as if the season ended today.

The first thing that happens is the top two teams in the BCS standings are slotted for the BCS Championship Game. So we have:

BCS Championship Game: Florida (SEC champion) vs. Texas (Big-12 champion)

Next, the conference champions with BCS bowl tie-ins are slotted. So we'd have the following:

Rose Bowl: Oregon (PAC-10 champion) vs. Iowa (Big-10 champion)
Orange Bowl: Georgia Tech (ACC champion)

After that, we look to see what other teams will make it into the BCS.  The champion of the Big East conference receives an automatic bid to the BCS, despite not having a bowl tie-in.  So that ensures that Cincinnati will play in one of the bowls.

We then look to the champions of the conferences that do not receive an automatic bid. If the champions of one of these "non BCS" conferences is ranked 12th or higher in the BCS, then they receive an automatic bid as well. However, the rules state that only one such team receives the automatic bid. Both TCU and Boise State are ranked in the Top 12 of the BCS; however, TCU is ranked slightly higher right now and they would get the nod. Boise State could still be selected as an at large team if one of the bowls chooses them.

The bowls then start selecting teams. Any bowl that loses their automatic tie-in to the BCS Championship game gets to select first.  In this case, the Sugar Bowl lost SEC Champion Florida and the Fiesta Bowl lost Big-12 Champion Texas. Since Florida is ranked #1 in the BCS standings, the Sugar Bowl would select first. The Sugar would likely try to replace Florida with another SEC team, and I think they would select Alabama. The Big-12 doesn't have any suitable replacements for Texas, so the Fiesta would look elsewhere. The decision would likely be between 1-loss Penn State or 2-loss USC.  Due to Penn State's rabid fan base and reputation for traveling well, I think the Fiesta Bowl would go with the Nittany Lions.

After those selections have been made, the bowls then choose in a pre-determined order. The order for this year's games is Orange, Fiesta, then Sugar. The Orange Bowl probably goes for the bigger name in USC ahead of TCU, Cincinnati, or other at large teams such as undefeated Boise State. A local 2-loss Miami team could be an attraction as well.

The Fiesta picks next and must now choose between Cincinnati and TCU, who are both guaranteed a spot somewhere. TCU is a more regional choice, and I believe the Fiesta will go with them ahead of Cincinnati. The Sugar is then left with Cincinnati to fill their second spot.

The lineup will look like:

BCS Championship Game: Florida (SEC champion) vs. Texas (Big-12 champion)
Rose Bowl: Oregon (PAC-10 champion) vs. Iowa (Big-10 champion)
Orange Bowl: Georgia Tech (ACC champion) vs. USC (at large)
Fiesta Bowl: Penn State (at large) vs. TCU (at large)
Sugar Bowl: Alabama (at large) vs. Cincinnati (Big East champion)

It's sad that the BCS bowl selection procedure is so short sighted.  College football gets robbed of a potential Penn State vs. Alabama or Alabama vs. USC match-up. But...it is what it is.

So where does this leave LSU and the rest of the SEC? I'll give my best shot at the SEC bowls too.

The Capital One Bowl in Orlando selects first after the BCS selections are complete. The Capital One Bowl must select the team with the best overall record or a team within one win of the team with the next best overall record. Right now, the Capital One Bowl would be forced to select LSU since nobody is within one game of LSU's 7-1 record. This bowl pairs the SEC with the Big-10, and Ohio State is currently the favorite to come here. If Ohio State beats Penn State on Saturday and proceeds to win out, then the Buckeyes likely go to the BCS and Penn State likely goes to Orlando.

The Outback Bowl in Tampa and Cotton Bowl in Dallas then pick next.  If the two bowls want the same team, then the Outback Bowl gets preference for an SEC East team and the Cotton Bowl gets preference for an SEC West team. Right now, I'll say that Tennessee looks headed for the Outback Bowl. The Cotton Bowl will choose between Ole Miss, Auburn, and Georgia but I'll go with Auburn since Ole Miss just went there last year. The winner of the Auburn / Georgia game may have some bearing on this decision, but the Cotton rarely chooses an SEC East team. Wisconsin is a likely opponent in the Outback bowl and Oklahoma is the likely opponent in the Cotton.

The Chick-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta selects next, and they'll be choosing between Georgia and Ole Miss. I think they'll go with the home team and select Georgia who could face a number of ACC teams. The best bet
is either Miami or Virginia Tech. I'll go with Miami. 

The Liberty Bowl in Memphis and the Music City Bowls in Nashville select next. If they choose the same team, the team actually gets to decide which bowl to attend. Ole Miss would like to play in nearby Memphis, so I'll put them there. The winner of this weekend's Arkansas / South Carolina game could have the upper hand for the Music City Bowl. I'll go with Arkansas. The Liberty also hosts the  champion of Conference USA; therefore, Ole Miss would likely face Houston in the Liberty while Arkansas will face an ACC opponent in the Music City. The ACC is so jumbled, it's impossible to know but I'll pick one out of a hat and say that Arkansas will face Clemson.

The Independence Bowl in Shreveport, LA chooses next and they'll select South Carolina. They'll match up against a Big-12 team and a team like Kansas, Missouri, or Texas A&M are likely candidates. I think we'll see South Carolina vs. Texas A&M.

The Papajohns.com Bowl in Birmingham selects next, and Kentucky will be the only bowl eligible team remaining (if they make it). They'll be matched up against the Big East and a possible opponent is South

That gives us an SEC bowl lineup that looks like this:

Capital One Bowl: LSU vs. Ohio State
Outback Bowl: Tennessee vs. Wisconsin
Cotton Bowl: Auburn vs. Oklahoma
Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Georgia vs. Miami
Music City Bowl: Arkansas vs. Clemson
Liberty Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Houston
Independence Bowl: South Carolina vs. Texas A&M
Papajohns.com Bowl: Kentucky vs. South Florida

So can LSU make it to a BCS bowl if they lose a game and finish 10-2?  It's possible.  Here's what has to happen: Either Florida or Alabama has to lose a regular season game, and then they have to lose again in the SEC Championship Game. That team and LSU will both have two losses, but the other team (either Florida or Bama) would be coming off a loss in Atlanta. That may make LSU the more attractive option for the Sugar Bowl. Then again, it may not. But it's the only possible scenario that LSU makes a BCS bowl without winning the SEC Championship.

On the flip side, if LSU wins the remainder of their games but loses the SEC Championship Game, they could be passed over by the BCS for a 1-loss Alabama team. In fact, they almost certainly would.  
It will be interesting to see how teams jockey for position down the stretch of this season.  I'll try to update these each week, but without the lengthy explanations.


Saturday Night Slant - LSU Sports & Recruiting