Who would have ever guessed that LSU's Ed Orgeron sits in on the Happy Hour that is the College Football Playoff rankings fiesta?

Presumably he has had to sit out the discussions that involve his Geaux Tigers.

Recusal, I think, is how they refer to it in legal terms.

But surely he had something to do with this slight, right? Of Ohio State taking over the No. 1 spot from the Tigers.

OK, maybe he wasn't there. But it appears he at least had a proxy along for the ride.

Surely by Tuesday he was thinking that he needed an extra jolt, that the Revenge Factor for Texas A&M this week had worn thin, faded over time, and that he might need a little something extra for this week's game against the Aggies that anybody with a football brain knows isn't half bad at all.

Think they'll fall for it?

Why not? Take a shot.

Go ahead, encourage them. Let Ohio State leapfrog the Tigers for the No. 1 spot in the CFP rankings even though the Tigers did nothing (much) wrong in beating Arkansas and the Buckeyes did everything in their power to lose to Penn State, even though OSU was obviously the far better team.

Who? What? How that happened?

If they needed perking up, that should get the Tigers' dander up.

Maybe Orgeron was slipping the committee some spare Jacksons.

OK, probably not. But he got just what he needed anyway.

Forget the exhausting memory of seven overtimes, curious calls and postgame dust-ups at Texas A&M last year. That's iffy motivation at best.

But the Tigers have a new reason to get mad for Saturday's key game.

Armed with this new offense, they've been coasting along all season soaking up the attaboys and the huzzahs as the biggest surprise thrill ride of the season.

LSU was due a reality check — and it didn't take a loss for it to rear its head.

Pretty sure LSU still beat Alabama.

But Ohio State is suddenly No. 1.

Go figure.

It's been a mirky back-and-forth during the whole rankings process between the Tigers' résumé and the Buckeyes' Eye Test, and suddenly the eyes are carrying the vote.

Yes, Tigers, after all the love all season, now you've been slighted. Yes, just the incentive that Orgeron needed.

Here's the bottom line: LSU needs to win one of its next two games — A&M on Saturday or Georgia next week in the SEC championship game — and the Tigers are sure to be one of the four CFP teams.

So just win this week and LSU is playing Georgia for grins and giggles … and mostly for seeding.

The Tigers want more, of course.

Some years seeding might not be important. Just get into the playoff and take your chances. But the word on the streets is that, this year at least, seeding really matters for those jockeying for such.

The key advantage to being No. 1 is that in the semifinals it avoids No. 3 Clemson, the defending national champion, which, despite a tissue-thin schedule, can't be trusted not to be Clemson.

With the committee starting, as it says, with a clean slate each week, I would be under the assumption that beating Texas A&M and Georgia would trump whatever Ohio State can do against Michigan and either Minnesota or Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship.

You'd assume it would be enough to reclaim the No. 1 spot. You could assume that, but some would disagree with you, and some of them are smarter than both of us.

Beating Georgia, currently No. 4, would speak for itself.

And while the debate rages over who's the best one-loss team, there's no question that Texas A&M is the best four-loss team — maybe in history. LSU will be the third team in the polls, along with Clemson and Alabama, that the Aggies have played, and another loss is to Georgia.

So you're telling me that Texas A&M can be Clemson's signature victory but can't be a notch in LSU's belt toward reclaiming No. 1?

Apparently they already tossed LSU's win over then-No. 9 Texas, yet Baylor beat the Longhorns just last week and moved up five spots in the poll.

But one conspiracy theory out there is that the committee dropped the Tigers this week, got it out of the way early, to leave a No. 4 spot for current No. 5 Alabama to slip in while avoiding an LSU-Bama rematch in the semifinals.

It's overkill. I don't see a path for the Tide to get to No. 4, and, besides, it will be a moot point after Auburn beats the Tua Tagovailoa-less Tide on Saturday.

But at least the parameters have been set, LSU knows what it's dealing with now.

Style points count.

In explaining the LSU-Ohio State flip-flop, CFP committee chairman (and Oregon athletic director) Rob Mullens said they came to the conclusion that Ohio State was the "more complete team."

Translation: LSU's defense isn't championship worthy.

Solution: Put together the complete game, both sides of the ball, that, even in an 11-0 season, hasn't really been there yet.


Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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