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NCAA Football LSU TigersMississippi State BulldogsSEC Football

Mississippi St.-LSU Game Still Has Importance


Derick Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

The SEC West and a spot in the conference title game won’t be on the line this weekend when the Mississippi St. Bulldogs head to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to take on the LSU Tigers. However, there will still be plenty on the line regardless of the fact that neither team can win the SEC.

For the Bulldogs, they can get back on track with a huge upset, while the Tigers can also get back on track after their last-minute loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide last weekend. And that’s just the beginning of what is at stake this Saturday for these two teams.

A possible BCS at-large spot will be on the line in each of the remaining three games for the Tigers, though this weekend’s game should be the toughest of those three. Yes, the Tigers did lose to the Florida Gators earlier in the year and while it would seem plausible that either the Gators or Georgia Bulldogs will end up being in a BCS bowl game as an at-large, the Tigers still can make their argument.

The Tigers’ key wins came against the South Carolina Gamecocks and Texas A&M Aggies in consecutive weeks while their early season win against the Washington Huskies looks a lot better now than when the game took place. There’s also the bargaining chip of the Tigers being on more of a roll than the Gators or Bulldogs when the regular season is completely over. That case could be made if the Tigers win out, the Gators lose to the Florida St. Seminoles in a few weeks and/or in the SEC title game, and Georgia loses at least once before the end of Championship Week.

For the Bulldogs, a January 1st bowl game or even a Cotton Bowl berth could be on the line this weekend. Ironically, the Bulldogs have the same final two SEC opponents as the Tigers after this weekend, just on different weeks. That puts added emphasis on getting that marquee win when they can, and this weekend is the final time the Bulldogs can get that win.

They’ve already had their chance when they played the Crimson Tide, but that was a pipe dream and everyone minus the Bulldogs’ players and coaches knew that (even their fans I’m sure). But even if they don’t get a real marquee win, the Bulldogs could still finish with nine regular season wins and a top-15 poll spot when all is said and done. That could be compelling for a Gator Bowl or Outback Bowl berth, if nothing else.

This weekend is crunch time for this turnaround season from the Bulldogs. Either they pull of the big upset and continue on their way to a ten-win regular season, or they lose and leave it to the selection committees of the bowl games that invite SEC teams. If nothing else, an upset like this would be that statement win that sends the word out to the rest of the SEC that this team is back and they are for real.

For the Tigers, it’s the same thing except with a more ambitious post-season at stake. If the Tigers win out, they will no doubt finish in the top-10, and they could even end up in the top-5 or at least at number six if certain things happen. That would meet all of the necessary qualifications for the Tigers to be eligible to receive a BCS at-large berth. And the Tigers definitely need this win (against a ranked team) because, as mentioned before, there are two other teams in the SEC that make a good case for that at-large spot as well.