LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, November 15, 2012 7:04 PM
OK, just because so many of you have asked …
Here’s how LSU wins a three-way tiebreaker to get into the Southeastern Conference championship game if the Tigers finish knotted in the West with Alabama and Texas A&M.
The first tiebreaker is total head-to-head records among all three. And all three would be 1-1, so that’s a wash and fails miserably in sorting out anything.
Step two would be overall division records. LSU and A&M would be 5-1 in the West, the Crimson Tide would be 4-2.
Thanks for playing, Alabama, and there are some nice parting gifts for you on the way out.
Once it gets to two teams, then it’s head-to-head between them, and, of course, LSU beat the Aggies 24-19 a few weeks ago.
Voilà — your Fighting Tigers are the SEC West rep for the title game.
But that’s really about all you need to know about that, and it’s really not worth re-reading the fine print because …
What Alabama may lack in tiebreaker efficiency, it certainly makes up for with the schedule.
The only way the tiebreaker can kick in is for hapless, done-spit-out-the-bit Auburn to upset Alabama on the final Saturday of the regular season.
No — before you ask — there is absolutely NO chance of that happening and, yes, I realize the so-called Iron Bowl is the mother of all rivalry games and you can throw the record books out the window, and Auburn really hates Alabama with an unnatural passion, etc., etc., and don’t even bring it up again.
Upsets happen every week, but the world, I’m afraid, is not quite ready for that one just yet.
So it’s still, when you get right down to it, Alabama’s world, at least in the SEC.
Where does that leave LSU, in regards to a possible BCS bowl, that is?
Not that bad, actually.
See, the SEC championship winner — Georgia, now, them Dawgs really COULD knock off Alabama — is either going to the Sugar Bowl or (with a lot of convenient help between now and then) to the BCS championship game.
Either way, there should be an at-large spot in one of those other fine BCS bowls for one of the five other SEC teams in the top nine (but only one, as per BCS rules and regulations that limit any one conference to two of the spots, even if six teams look worthy).
So I would tell you, for LSU’s interests, it would probably be best to root for the Tide in the SEC title game, but I know that just is not going to happen so I won’t even bring it up.
Traditionally, the BCS bowls have shied away from taking the loser of the SEC title game.
Maybe that would even apply if the SEC title game loser turned out to be Alabama.
Perhaps, although I surely wouldn’t assume it, so maybe you might want to think about just this once rooting for Alabama in the …
Nah, OK, OK — don’t quit reading — I should know better and I won’t even mention it again.
We’ll work around it.
For our purposes, we’ll assume that the SEC title game loser is forced to look elsewhere.
So, for this exercise, we must assume the other BCS bowl team from the SEC will come from the foursome of Florida, LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina.
For LSU, it would be pretty convenient if Florida, the lone one-loss team among those, would lose to Florida State, which could easily happen, assuming either team figures a way to score a point.
Then LSU would be the highest ranked among the leftovers.
Of course, we must also assume that LSU closes the regular season with victories over Ole Miss and, the day after Thanksgiving, at Arkansas.
If the Tigers don’t, then they don’t deserve a BCS bowl, discussion closed. They’ll take what they get and like it.
But it’s not that simple. It’s not as cut-and-dried as just winning.
What LSU really needs from here on out is what is known in the trade as “style points.”
Those delicacies were, of course, in short supply for most of LSU’s season, although there have been scattered sightings in recent weeks.
The Tigers need some more of them — wads of them —against the Rebels and Razorbacks.
When the BCS bowls start picking and choosing, it often doesn’t matter who the most deserving team is. It can turn into a beauty contest in a 2-minute hurry and, right now, Texas A&M has the nation’s heartthrob in Johnny “Football” Manziel leading the sleek attack that slayed Bama.
His considerable charms may be too much for anyone to resist. But just in case, the Tigers need to come out and turn Zach Mettenberger as loose as they have the last two weeks, whether they need to or not.
Let him drill holes in Rebels and Razorbacks.
LSU needs to look like the offense that somebody pulled out of a mad hat the last two or three weeks, and its defense needs to put down the hammer some more, even in — particularly in — the final 2 minutes of the halves.
They need to get out there and have some fun and get their hair combed just right and put on a big smile for the postseason suitors.
It’s about all they can do at this point.
• • •
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at email@example.com