LSU is still mathematically in the hunt to make it to the SEC Championship Game after a harrowing victory over Ole Miss last week and hopes to take care of business against Arkansas on Friday in Fayetteville.
Either way, the 9-2 Tigers (5-2 SEC) still have a chance of making it to the Sugar Bowl this season as the SEC's likely replacement for Alabama (bound for the BCS Championship Game).
As for Arkansas, the Razorbacks (4-7, 2-5 SEC) are just hoping to end the season with some respectability after a 45-14 loss to Mississippi State last week.
Here's a breakdown of the SEC clash.
Where: Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, AR
When: Friday, Nov. 23 at 2:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: SEC Live
Betting Line: LSU -12.5 (via ScoresAndOdds.com)
What's At Stake?
The Tigers would win the SEC West Division and advance to the SEC Championship Game if they beat Arkansas, Alabama loses to Auburn and Texas A&M defeats Missouri.
In that case, it would be a three-way tie within the division, and LSU would ultimately win the SEC West based on its head-to-head record against Texas A&M (full explanation here, courtesy of Aaron Brenner of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer ).
Arkansas is not eligible for the postseason.
Injury Report (via USA Today)
G Josh Williford—Concussion—OUT indefinitely
TE Chris Gragg—Knee—Questionable
What They're Saying
To say Les Miles was happy about LSU's come-from-behind victory against Ole Miss last week would be an understatement. Everybody is talking about his postgame tirade after LSU came back from a 28-20 fourth-quarter deficit to steal one in Baton Rouge.
Among a few things Miles said, via the Times-Picayune:
"Just so you know I'm proud of those men, how frickin' easy it would have been to say it's their (Ole Miss') night.
"Spectacular group of men. You go find them, you throw your arms around them, you give them a big kiss on the mouth—if you're a girl.
"Wow! What a game, are you kidding me? When Odell Beckham is going. . . I felt like a bowler at the bowling lanes. Anyways, questions."
I'll let the video speak for itself.
In Fayetteville, there is a buzz off the football field, given Jim Harris of ArkansasSports360.com reported via Twitter on Monday that Arkansas has made an offer to Jon Gruden for its head coaching position.
Given the turmoil within the program, from Bobby Petrino to John L. Smith, it would be nice for the Razorbacks to have some direction at the head coaching position.
LSU Player to Watch: Zach Mettenberger, QB
While LSU has mainly been a run-heavy team this season, junior quarterback Zach Mettenberger showed progress against Alabama and Mississippi State.
Then again, Mettenberger fell back down to Earth against Ole Miss last week, tossing two interceptions.
Wherever the Tigers land in the postseason, a little help from Mettenberger could go a long way.
Arkansas has allowed 8.2 yards per pass attempt (tied for 110th in the FBS) and 23 passing touchdowns (tied for 99th) this season, via CFBStats.com.
Mettenberger has a shot of doing some damage heading into the postseason.
Arkansas Player to Watch: Tyler Wilson, QB
While LSU has generally been a run-heavy team this season, Arkansas has usually relied on senior quarterback Tyler Wilson's arm.
Wilson has averaged 8.7 yards per pass attempt (third among qualifying quarterbacks in the SEC) while tossing 20 touchdowns, but he has also racked up 12 interceptions, including four picks in his last two games against Mississippi State and South Carolina.
Most NFL draft experts have Wilson as their No. 3 quarterback in the 2013 draft class (behind West Virginia's Geno Smith and USC's Matt Barkley).
Key Matchup: Arkansas Passing Game vs. LSU Pass Defense
Arkansas has been better running the football lately, but the Razorbacks still rely on Tyler Wilson to pump out points.
As noted, Wilson has been productive this season, but he also needs to stop throwing interceptions.
That's going to be tough against an LSU defense that has notched 17 picks, but any hopes for an Arkansas upset lie in Wilson's hands.
Prediction: LSU 35, Arkansas 14
The Arkansas defense has been roughed up all season long, and I don't expect Tyler Wilson and Co. to do enough against the LSU defense to make this a close contest, especially with the Tigers revved up heading into the postseason.
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