SEC could end up with three teams in BCS bowls

COLLEGE FOOTBALL — The possibility exists for the SEC to end up with three teams in the BCS — something that has not been done before. If the SEC ends up with two non-SEC champions ranked No. 1 and No. 2, the SEC would get another at-large bid for another BCS bowl.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: November 21, 2011
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College football conferences are limited to two representatives in BCS bowl games every season, with the exception of one scenario.

"No more than two teams from a conference may be selected, regardless of whether they are automatic qualifiers or at-large selections, unless two non-champions from the same conference are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the final BCS standings."

The possibility exists more this season than any other in BCS history.

The SEC has the top three teams in this week's BCS rankings in No. 1 LSU, No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Arkansas.

LSU closes out its regular season hosting Arkansas on Friday. Alabama closes out its season at Auburn on Saturday.

If Arkansas beats LSU and Alabama beats Auburn, there will be a three-way tie for first place in the SEC Western Division at 7-1 and all three teams would remain 1-2-3 in the next BCS standings.

In this case, the head-to-head results of the top two ranked teams would decide the Western representative in the SEC championship game against Eastern champion Georgia on Dec. 3 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Using the SEC division tiebreaker:

* If LSU and Alabama are No. 1 and/or No. 2 in the BCS standings, and Arkansas is No. 3: LSU would advance to the SEC title game by virtue of its 9-6 victory at Alabama on Nov. 5.

* If Alabama and Arkansas are No. 1 and/or No. 2 in the BCS standings, and LSU is No. 3: Alabama would advance to the SEC title game by virtue of its 38-14 victory over Arkansas on Sept. 24.

* If Arkansas and LSU are No. 1 and/or No. 2 in the BCS standings, and Alabama is No. 3: Arkansas would advance to the SEC title game by virtue of its victory Friday at LSU.

Upon completion of the SEC championship game:

* If Georgia wins the SEC title game and the top two teams in the final BCS standings on Dec. 4 are both from the SEC, the Bulldogs would play in the Sugar Bowl at the New Orleans Superdome on Jan. 3 as the conference champion and the two SEC non-champions would play in the same facility for the national title on Jan. 9.

* If the Western Division champion wins the conference title game and finishes No. 1 or No. 2 alongside another SEC team in the final BCS standings, the SEC would be limited to only two BCS bowl representatives and the conference's automatic berth to the Sugar Bowl would go to an at-large qualifier.

No conference has ever had three teams occupy 1-2-3 in the BCS standings.

Last weekend is to blame. Three teams ranked in the top five of the BCS lost, opening a path for the SEC trifecta.

"That was probably the craziest (weekend) I've seen in my life," Texas coach Mack Brown said of Oklahoma State, Oregon and Oklahoma losing within 24 hours of each other. "I've never seen that many upsets. I think it shows that there's a lot more parity out there than ever before.

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