Monday, October 31, 2011
SEC race update: Week 10
By Chris Low
Two huge games highlight the SEC schedule this coming weekend and will go a long way toward determining which two teams will be in Atlanta in December.
The Alabama-LSU winner takes a commanding lead in the Western Division race, although if the Tigers win, they still have to beat Arkansas in the regular-season finale on Nov. 25. That game is in Baton Rouge.
If Alabama wins this Saturday, it would take a major upset to keep the Crimson Tide from making their third trip to the SEC championship game in the past four years. They have Mississippi State and Auburn remaining in the conference, although both games are on the road.
Should LSU win on Saturday and then lose to Arkansas, creating a three-way tie among the teams, the tiebreaker would be determined by the BCS standings that come out the Sunday following the final regular-season games. Here’s the caveat: The tied team with the highest ranking in the BCS standings would be the West representative unless the second of the tied teams is within five or fewer places of the highest ranked team.
In that case, the head-to-head results of the top two ranked teams would determine the West representative.
For example, if Arkansas were to rise to No. 3 in the BCS standings after beating LSU, and Alabama was No. 4 and LSU No. 5, Alabama would be the West champ because it beat Arkansas head-to-head during the regular season and was within five spots of Arkansas in the BCS standings. In that scenario, LSU would be eliminated from the process as the third highest team in the BCS standings.
Now that we’re all clear on that, the East race is officially a two-team race between Georgia and South Carolina.
They each have one loss apiece in the SEC, while the other four teams in the East all have at least four conference losses.
The Gamecocks hold the head-to-head tiebreaker based on their 45-42 win over the Bulldogs the second week of the season. If South Carolina wins its next two games against Arkansas on the road and Florida at home, Steve Spurrier’s club will make its second straight trip to the SEC championship game.
So the Bulldogs, despite winning their last six games, still need some help. Their schedule the rest of the way is a little easier. They get Auburn and Kentucky, both at home.
Georgia hasn’t played in the SEC championship game since winning its last SEC title in 2005.