Arkansas (7-4) at LSU (8-3), 7:00 EST, Saturday, November 28, ESPN
Why to watch: Florida and Alabama will be in the BCS meaning there are three prime SEC bowl slots to fill. One is the Outback, which typically goes to the best available team in the East (likely the winner of the Kentucky vs. Tennessee game), and the other two, the Capital One and the Cotton, typically go to the SEC West. If Ole Miss beats Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl it’ll likely be Capital One bound, meaning (keeping in mind that bowl scenarios always get wacky at the 11th hour â€¦ like if Auburn beats Alabama) that the winner of this game will probably get to go to Dallas for the Cotton. While that might be a bit of a disappointment for an LSU team that dreams of playing in the BCS every year, it would be a tremendous step forward for Arkansas in the second year under Bobby Petrino.
Thanks to the record-setting passing season of Ryan Mallett, and an advantageous four-game homestand, Arkansas went on a run of wins to put itself in a position for a big bowl bid. The Hogs have the SEC’s best offense and have been bombing away to a good season, but their best win this season came against Auburn. That’s good, but beating LSU would bring a whole other level of validity to the season and would make Arkansas the hot team going into the offseason and 2010 (sort of like Ole Miss was the darling of the 2009 offseason). But LSU also wants to make a statement. This isn’t the juggernaut of a Tiger team that SEC fans are used to, but the three losses have come to Florida, Alabama, and Ole Miss, with last week’s loss to the Rebels finalized by a brain-cramp of a final few minutes by the coaching staff when it came to clock management; the team is doing something right to get into this position. However, a loss would mean a rough November with three defeats in the final four games.
If nothing else, if history holds true, this should be one of the more entertaining games of the weekend. Arkansas has won the last two, including the stunner in 2006 that appeared at the time to be a deathblow to LSU’s national title dream. The last four games between the two have been decided by one, two, five, and two points. This should be just as close. [read more]