LSU has lost the battle for the SEC title, but can they still win the war for the BCS National Championship?
The odds are improbable. The BCS formula has changed over the years to safeguard against non-conference champions—like Nebraska in 2001 and Oklahoma in 2003— from making the title game.
But it is not impossible. The Tigers overcame longer odds in 2007, jumping from No. 7 to No. 2 in the final BCS rankings, to play for the national title. Could Les Miles and the Bayou Bengals do it again in 2010?
Here is how LSU can still play for the BCS National Championship in Glendale, AZ on Jan. 10.
With their 24-17 victory over LSU, No. 2 Auburn (10-0) is LSU's biggest roadblock to playing for the national championship. But, they also have the toughest remaining schedule of the four undefeated teams.
Auburn must lose at Alabama in "The Iron Bowl" on Nov. 26 and, more importantly, to South Carolina in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 4 in Atlanta.
If Auburn only lose one of those games, LSU likely won't leapfrog them in the BCS standings, certainly not enough to rank first or second.
As prolific as the No. 1 Ducks (10-0) and No. 4 Broncos (9-0) offenses are, the chances of either team losing are slim. But they are still better then No. 3 TCU (11-0) going down to New Mexico (1-9).
Boise St. and Oregon's toughest remaining game occur on Nov. 26—Oregon vs. Arizona and Boise St. at Nevada.
The Wildcats defense is good enough to stay close, just as California did in their 15-13 lose to Oregon. But it would also help if the Ducks played as flat and tired as they did on Saturday.
With Colin Kaepernick leading its Pistol offense, Nevada has given Boise St. the most trouble of any team in the past three seasons. Winning a road conference game is always a difficult task, even for the Broncos in the WAC.
LSU is currently the highest ranked one-loss team in the BCS standings. They need to stay that way.
If No. 8 Nebraska and No. 10 Oklahoma St. (both 9-1) win their final two regular season games and meet in the Big XII Championship Game, the winner will jump ahead of LSU in the rankings.
The Cornhuskers and Cowboys both have one game against ranked opponents—Nebraska at Texas A&M (7-3) on Saturday and Oklahoma St. vs. Oklahoma (8-2) on Nov. 27.
LSU need Nebraska and Oklahoma St. to lose again to ensure any eventual Big XII champion will be a two-loss squad.
No. 7 Wisconsin, No. 9 Ohio St. and No. 12 Michigan St. are tied on top the Big Ten with 9-1 records.
I don't believe any of these teams will be able impress voters or the computers enough with wins in their final two games to move ahead of LSU in the standings.
However, if Iowa were to beat the Buckeyes on Saturday, it would do two things. First, discourage voters from considering Ohio St. ahead of LSU, Wisconsin and Stanford among one-loss teams on their ballot. Second, it would dilute the Badgers win over the Buckeyes in the computer rankings.
Just a little insurance in case LSU needs it.
This one may seem obvious, but LSU has had problems with Ole Miss and Arkansas over the past three years.
The Tigers have lost two straight to the Rebels and were a missed field away last year from losing three consecutive to the Razorbacks.
Plus, Les Miles needs to redeem himself for the time management debacle at Ole Miss last year.
LSU needs to win out to have any chance of getting to the national championship game.
So if all those scenarios break in favor of LSU, the Tigers could find themselves playing TCU for the BCS National Championship.
Then college football fans and pundits can again argue all offseason over the merits of the BCS versus a playoff system.