It’s too early to determine which side is more at fault for the postponement and potential cancellation of this year’s LSU-Florida game in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew, but regardless of blame, this remains true: LSU needs to get Florida back on the schedule.
Unlike the Gators, who would benefit from not playing the contest, the Tigers’ season likely depends on rescheduling.
In the SEC East, Florida can reach Atlanta by winning its final four conference games — the Gators are favored in all of them by ESPN’s Football Power Index — and watching as Tennessee falls to two tough opponents (Texas A&M and Alabama) over the next two weekends.
But the SEC West is such a logjam that LSU likely needs seven wins to have a chance at the league title.
Alabama and Texas A&M are two of the nation’s best teams. One of them will lose on Oct. 22. Both must still play LSU. If Florida ends up being on the schedule — giving the Tigers eight games again — then LSU controls its destiny. If not, then there’s no control.
Even if, say, Alabama lost to A&M and then A&M lost to LSU, the Aggies would still neutralize the Tigers’ head-to-head tiebreaker by having a 7-1 conference record vs. a 6-1 record.
There’s also this: If LSU loses another game, it needs a Florida matchup on its schedule to be able to part of a potential three-way tie between 6-2 teams. A 5-2 record would require a miracle — both ‘Bama and A&M losing three conference games — to send LSU to the Georgia Dome.
At this point, you’re probably wondering, “Why are we even putting ‘LSU’ and ‘SEC title game’ in the same sentence?”
Don’t forget that the Tigers might have more talent than any team in America, and they appeared to embrace the beginning of the post-Les Miles era last weekend in a blowout win over Missouri.
A last-second loss at Auburn might have doomed them, but it also might have set in motion a chain of events that leads LSU to a wacky playoff berth.
One idea floated by the Gators was a Nov. 19 meet-up in Gainesville that would require both schools to buy out their non-conference opponents that week. That would seem to make a lot of sense, but LSU athletic director Joe Alleva expressed concern about the date.
“It would be very difficult to give up a home game to make up this game,” he told reporters. “It would be very difficult.”
It seems it would be more difficult to sit at home on championship weekend with a 6-1 conference record.