COMMENTARY: Tigers not out of race for SEC West
By Kyle Whitfield The Daily Reveille

October 13, 2006

Baton Rouge, LA (CSTV U-WIRE) -- Demoralizing, depressing and disappointing are just a few words that come to mind when reflecting on LSU's performance in Saturday's game.

But what made the loss even more demoralizing, depressing and disappointing was to watch the Tigers blow a golden opportunity to immediately claw back in to the SEC West race.

University of Arkansas' triumph on the road against Auburn earlier in the day breathed new life into LSU's chances of playing in the SEC Championship game and going to a BCS bowl game.

With their second conference loss, the Tigers are again relegated to scoreboard-watching in hopes of advancing to the conference championship game.

But if history means anything in college football, then do not cancel your hotel reservations in Atlanta to watch LSU play in the SEC championship game in December.

"If you look at the teams that are in the driver's seat and who they have to play, I think it appears that there are some likely pitfalls for those teams," LSU coach Les Miles said.

The most recent SEC West team to go to the conference championship game with more than one loss was Arkansas in 2002.

The Razorbacks brought a 5-3 conference record into the championship game against Georgia.

Remember that season?

That was the year LSU blew the game in Little Rock, Ark., when quarterback Matt Jones completed a desperation pass into the end zone with less than 20 seconds left in the game to win, 21-20.

Good times.

Also, in 2001, LSU brought another 5-3 SEC record to the championship game and defeated the University of Tennessee in the Georgia Dome.

That was the year Matt Mauck, Domanick Davis and the Tigers defeated Illinois 47-34 in the Sugar Bowl in the Superdome.

Now in 2006, the season is setting itself up to allow a multiple-conference loss SEC West team to go to the SEC Championship Game.

As of Sunday, Arkansas leads the SEC West with a 3-0 conference record.

But the Hogs' remaining schedule is not exactly kind and welcoming.

They still have dates this season at the University of South Carolina and at home against Tennessee and LSU in the final game of the regular season.

Auburn University is second in the SEC West with a 3-1 conference record. The Tigers/Plainsmen/War Eagles still must play at home against the University of Florida and the University of Georgia and in the Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa, Ala., against the University of Alabama.

And there is no need to remind everyone that LSU still must play at Tennessee and at Arkansas.

Just for fun, we can add two-loss Alabama in the race now.

For now, there is no use in getting into all the tiebreaker rules for two reasons.

One, there is still too many games remaining to start the guessing game of who's going to beat whom.

And two, I need to consult a lawyer to help me understand those baffling tiebreaker rules.

"The thing that has to happen is we have to respond to what's happened and enjoy the opportunity to improve and work hard at it and return to the team that we're capable of being," Miles said.

So, my message is simple to Tiger fans reading this column, instead of paying attention in class or wasting time in an office building.

Don't give up on this LSU team yet - things should get interesting in the Wild SEC West.

(C) 2006 The Daily Reveille via CSTV U-WIRE

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