Powered by its best win of the season over South Carolina, LSU checked in at No. 6 in the first BCS rankings released Sunday night -- making it the highest-ranked of the nation's one-loss teams.
The Tigers (6-1), also ranked sixth in both polls released Sunday, got a bump with Saturday's 23-21 win over the Gamecocks in a game LSU statistically dominated.
Fueled by the nation's No. 2-ranked defense (219.6 yards per game), the Tigers are off to a 2-1 start in the SEC despite scoring just 41 points in the three games. But LSU's first five wins before South Carolina was against a light schedule.
LSU's first five wins came against opponents unranked by the BCS, with a combined 10-21 record. That included a lone SEC win over an Auburn team that's now 1-5.
The light schedule has changed in recent weeks. Last week, the Tigers lost to an unbeaten Florida team that's ranked No. 2 in the BCS. On Saturday, the Tigers beat a South Carolina team that checked in at No. 7 in the first BCS rankings.
The good news for the Tigers going forward is that they face a schedule heavy on highly ranked BCS opponents -- a road that is difficult but presents the LSU with a huge opportunity to climb higher in the BCS rankings. Its next three games:
At No. 18 Texas A&M
Home vs. No. 1 Alabama
Home vs. No. 12 Mississippi State.
Of the five teams ranked ahead of LSU, the Tigers control their destiny against two of them. The Nov. 3 game against Alabama in a rematch of last season's BCS national championship game is obviously huge. Florida cannot likely stay ahead of a one-loss LSU team in the rankings without winning the SEC East, meaning LSU could potentially get a rematch with the Gators in the SEC championship game.
That leaves three teams the Tigers are ranked behind that LSU has no control over: No. 3 Oregon, No. 4 Kansas State and No. 5 Notre Dame. So long as two of those three teams lose, the Tigers' path back to the BCS title game is somewhat clear, although not easy.