The LSU Tigers’ trip to Tuscaloosa to face the Alabama Crimson Tide will be an incredibly meaningful game for the rest of the SEC, but it will also shape the fortunes of teams all over the country.
Regardless of whether the Tigers or the Tide come out on top, this matchup will send ripples through the rest of the BCS.
LSU brings a physical challenge in the road game, and could easily give the Tide a run for their money. If they should test Alabama, or even win in an upset, the result will drastically affect the rest of the BCS.
Little Hope for Oregon
The Oregon Ducks suffered a huge 26-20 loss to the Stanford Cardinal in Palo Alto that will likely end the Ducks’ title.
All Oregon has left is to hope that, somehow, Alabama loses this game. However, should the Tide continue to look dominant against the Tigers, the Ducks' fate would be sealed.
This is particularly depressing for Ducks fans, considering the recent chaos at the top of the BCS meant they had an easy path to the title game, as USA Today’s Dan Wolken explains.
Even in the muddled final year of the BCS, where an argument could have been made for either Florida State or Baylor to be No. 2, the Ducks had a clear-cut path to the national championship game. All they had to do was keep on winning; all they needed was to pass this test at Stanford and likely sail into the Pac-12 title game with Alabama in their sights.
The Ducks can hope for Alabama to fall in their season-ending date with the Auburn Tigers as well, but a win over LSU would be awful convincing for voters.
Baylor, Ohio State Contenders?
If the Tigers exceed expectations and beat Alabama, that leaves a lot of room for other contenders to step up.
The Baylor Bears just impressed the college football world with their 40-12 win over the Oklahoma Sooners, while the Ohio State Buckeyes remain undefeated.
Each team could make a claim for the second spot in the standings should the Florida State Seminoles take the top slot.
The Bears’ and Buckeyes’ defenses would be a class above anything the Seminoles have seen so far, as they rank ninth and 10th in total defense respectively.
The Bears in particular have plenty of experience stopping high-powered attacks, as this interception against the Kansas State Wildcats shows.
Should LSU win, that would set up a very interesting BCS title game with some highflying offenses.
But should Alabama win, they’ll further doom the Ducks and help keep the status quo the same.
Either way, all eyes will be on Tuscaloosa this weekend when the Tigers and Tide duke it out.