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LSU Should Get Final BCS Bid

A national debate is raging over who should get the #2 BCS (Bowl Championship Series) bid to face #1 Ohio State in the National Championship game on January 8, 2007. However, with Arkansas' loss and USC's win this past weekend, the debate over #2 is likely over. It's a safe bet that USC will beat UCLA this weekend and return to the National Championship game for the third straight year.

But, who else will make it to the BCS? Well, there are 10 BCS slots. The National Championship game gets the top 2 BCS teams. The next 8 go to the Rose, Fiesta, Sugar and Orange bowls.

The champion of each BCS conference is automatically in. That means USC gets the Pac-10 slot; Ohio State gets the Big-10 slot; Boise State has already qualified for a spot; Rutgers or Louisville will get the Big East slot; the winner of Georgia Tech/Wake Forest gets the ACC automatic bid; the winner of the Oklahoma/Nebraska game gets the Big-12 slot; and, the winner of the SEC championship game (Florida or Arkansas) gets the SEC slot. That accounts for 7 of the 10 BCS bids.

Then, Michigan will surely get one and Notre Dame (undeservedly) will get one. Why Notre Dame? Oh my, that's a whole different subject I can't cover here. Anyway, we are now down to only one empty slot. Who should get it?

The answer is obvious. LSU. Why? Mostly because this year, as in most years, the SEC is clearly the strongest football conference. On any given Saturday - Florida, LSU, Arkansas, and Auburn could all beat anyone in the country. And, the Tennessee Vols were right there before Eric Ainge (QB) went down.

Don't just take my word for it. Look at the BCS standings going into the final weekend of the year. Three Southeastern Conference teams in the top 10 (Florida, LSU, Arkansas) and Auburn is #11. That's amazing!! Tennessee comes in at #16. No other conference has more than 3 teams in the top 25. The SEC has FIVE in the top 16!

How about non-conference schedule? The SEC is an amazing 41-7 versus non-conference opponents in 2006. This .854 winning percentage far outstrips any other conference.

The SEC is so strong that none of its teams was able to emerge undefeated from its bruising SEC schedule. Strength of schedule makes it highly unlikely that an SEC team can go undefeated. Thus, the current BCS system greatly disadvantages the SEC from being able to get one of its teams into the National Championship game. However, if the BCS system is to give any credence to toughness of schedule, a second SEC school should get the final BCS bid.

Who should that team be? Easy, the LSU Tigers. Why? The key is LSU's win over the Arkansas Razorbacks this past weekend. The winner of the SEC championship game (Florida or Arkansas) will get the automatic bid as SEC champion. If Arkansas is the loser of the SEC championship game, LSU should get the nod over the Razorbacks since they just beat them. If Florida is the loser of the SEC Championship game this weekend, then LSU should still get the nod because both LSU and the Florida Gators will have 2 losses and LSU will have just beaten the SEC Champ (Arkansas).

Also, LSU is finishing the season, playing as well as anyone in the country. They have won 6 straight games, including wins at Tennessee and Arkansas. Their only losses came early in the year at Auburn and at Florida. Anyone who saw the Arkansas game on Friday will agree that right now the LSU Tigers can play with anyone in the country. LSU was able to overcome the most powerful running game in college football, and get a win, on the road, at Arkansas.

If the college football world were fair, Florida, Arkansas, and LSU would all get a shot at the National Championship - along with Ohio State, Michigan and USC. But college football lives in "BCS Land". And fairness is not a BCS criteria. Still, look for LSU to get a shot at Michigan in the Rose Bowl. That will be a great game.

UPDATE -- My "safe bet" turned out to be wrong. UCLA took out USC. Wow, that's what's so great about college football. As a result, Florida ended up in the National Championship Game (awesome) and LSU ended up in the Sugar Bowl to face Notre Dame. At least I was right about LSU getting a BCS Bowl bid. Sorry Notre Dame, make sure to pack a big lunch. Jan 3 will be a long day for the Irish. I think it will be a long day for the Wolverines as well.

Read about the Current BCS Controversy.

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