The LSU Tigers will try to put a heartbreaking loss behind them when the Mississippi State Bulldogs travel to Tiger Stadium this Saturday at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.
It is a matchup between two Top 25 teams and a game featuring two SEC programs that still have a lot to play for.
LSU hasn't been as successful this season as it would have liked, but still remains in the Top 10 of the BCS despite picking up two losses. The Bulldogs have maybe overachieved this season, but nobody is telling them they can't go into LSU and walk out with a victory.
Whatever the outcome of this SEC West matchup may be, here is the impact it could have on the BCS when it is all said and done.
If LSU Wins
The Tigers head into this matchup as two touchdown favorites and should have little problem pulling off the victory.
With this being the likeliest scenario, a win for LSU will immediately knock Mississippi State out of the BCS. The Bulldogs did win the first seven games of the season, but have yet to beat a ranked team, and a loss to the Tigers would make for the third loss in as many weeks. They would fall out of every poll and would need the last two games of the season to salvage a decent bowl game.
As for LSU, a victory would keep the program inside the Top 10 of the BCS rankings and keep the team alive for a BCS bowl. Surprisingly enough, despite the struggles for Les Miles club this season, the Tigers are still in the hunt for a big-time bowl game, especially with the SEC champion nearly guaranteed a shot for the national championship.
Of course, LSU will still need a little bit of luck the rest of the way, but a victory over the Bulldogs would mark the team’s third win over a ranked team this season. It also helps that the pollsters have loved this team all season long, which is keeping LSU and its hopes alive heading down the home stretch.
If Mississippi State Wins
If the Bulldogs find a way to win, it would remove all hope of LSU reaching a BCS bowl game and move Mississippi State back in the Top 20 of the BCS rankings.
Who wins the game?
Many polls still believe in the Tigers after barely losing to the No. 1 team in Alabama, but a loss to an unproven Mississippi State squad would force everybody to drop LSU out of the Top 10. Three losses for the Tigers would mark the most since the 2009 season and would be considered a disappointment for a team that was supposed to be better than a year ago.
Mississippi State has likely removed any hope of appearing in a BCS bowl, but a win would at least show that Dan Mullen's team can actually compete with ranked programs. I mean, we are talking about a team that is 1-10 since 2010 against ranked opponents, which isn't good the last time I checked.
A win for the Bulldogs would show that they may be ready to turn the corner right when we were all ready to call them pretenders. It would also show that LSU isn't as good as everybody thought (if you needed any more evidence), and that Miles has a lot of work to do with this team during the offseason.