Joined The Augusta Chronicle as a sports columnist in February 2001. Previously covered a myriad of sports including golf, NFL, NHL and college basketball in five years for the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C. Served as a sports designer and editor at the Winston-Salem Journal, Newport News Daily Press and Charlottesville Daily Progress. Started professional career as a small college and minor-league baseball writer for the News & Daily Advance in Lynchburg, Va., in 1989.
Posted November 13, 2011 06:27 pm - Updated November 13, 2011 06:35 pm

SEC West tiebreaker

I've been trying to comment on my own column for about two hours and can only get through a couple brief blurbs that haven't been flagged for approval by our "site administrators." They'll be sorry when I heave my company issued laptop into the wall in frsutration.


But rather than do that and risk termination, I'll blog a few clarifications that were brought up in the comments about the SEC West tiebraker should Arkansas upset LSU and create a three-way logjam of 11-1 teams in the West with circular wins against each other (LSU over Alabama; Alabama over Arkansas; Arkansas over LSU, possibly).


Here's the eighth and final three-way tiebreaker from the SEC's website (which this scenario would come down to):


8. The tied team with the highest ranking in the Bowl Championship Series Standings following the last weekend of regular-season games shall be the divisional representative in the SEC Championship Game, unless the second of the tied teams is ranked within five-or-fewer places of the highest ranked tied team. In this case, the head-to-head results of the top two ranked tied teams shall determine the representative in the SEC Championship Game.

So in other words, if Arkansas beats LSU and all three teams finish the regular season at 11-1, they are all likely to be ranked within five places of each other near the top of the BCS standings. (Currently, LSU is No. 1, Alabama No. 3 and Arkansas No. 6.) So it will depend
upon the final order the week before the SEC Championship game, with only the top two teams mattering.


If Alabama is first and LSU second, LSU would go. If Alabama is first and Arkansas second, 'Bama would go. So whoever is first better hope it beat whoever is second or it will get jumped. Understand?


Personally, I think LSU should still be rated highest because of its pair of quality wins over Oregon and West Virginia being better than anything the other two teams have accomplished (Alabama beat Penn State and Arkansas beat Texas A&M in their only notable non-conference games). The computers are likely to see it that way. But trying to read the minds of human voters is impossible. Some will consider the time of year a team lost. Others will study the strength of schedule and try to jostle their last rankings to benefit the team they thought did the overall best. Who knows?


Feel free to comment or correct my interpretation if you like. I may or may not be allowed to respond, so talk amongst yourselves.