Thursday, October 20, 2016

LSU needs two wins to become bowl eligible.

Bowl Eligibility Watch

In order to be bowl eligible, LSU has to go through five SEC opponents.

Image via Big Easy Believer.

The LSU Tigers were 2-2 when the school fired head coach Les Miles earlier this season. Under interim head coach Ed Orgeron, the Tigers won their last two games, giving them a 4-2 overall record, and a 2-1 SEC conference record.

Miles was fired after two losses that for all purposes took LSU out of  the running both the SEC title and a spot in the College Football Playoff, which it many had said the Tigers would be contenders for in 2016. Orgeron took over and led the Tigers to two straight wins. Putting the team back on a pathway for the six wins needed for bowl eligibility.

LSU's pathway for bowl eligibility won't be an easy one. It's all SEC schools, including the road game against Florida game that had to be rescheduled following concerns over Hurricane Matthew hitting Gainesville. The game will now be a home game for LSU on Nov. 19, but it comes at the cost of canceling the previously scheduled match-up against South Alabama, which presumably would have been an easier team to beat.

Here is the remainder of LSU's 2016 schedule.

Week 8: Oct 22 vs. Ole Miss (3-3)

Ole Miss may be the easiest team on the remainder of LSU's schedule. It's only SEC win this season came against a Georgia team with a freshman quarterback and a first-year head coach. The Rebels have also failed to win a road game this season. This could be where LSU could find the first of its two wins needed for bowl eligibility.

Also of note Ed Orgeron was head coach of Ole Miss from 2005-2007. During that time, the Rebels went 0-3 against Alabama. If you think that's bad, consider that in the first two of those games, Mike Shula was 'Bama's head coach.

Week 10: Nov. 5 vs. Alabama (7-0)

LSU itself hasn't beaten Alabama since 2011. While this year's game is being played in Baton Rouge, it could be against an 8-0 Crimson Tide team that's all but locked up the SEC West division title. 'Bama will also be coming off a bye week,

Alabama will be coming off a bye week that weekend, and possibly a win over Texas A&M. LSU could arguably be the strongest team remaining on the Crimson Tide's schedule. While a win here would be huge for LSU, it will undoubtably be the most difficult win to achieve this season.

Week 11: Nov. 12 @Arkansas (5-2)

If there is a must-win game on LSU's schedule, Nov. 12 road trip against Arkansas could be it. Losses to Ole Miss and Alabama wouldn't necessarily knock LSU out of the bowl eligibility picture, but a loss to the Razorbacks could put the Tigers' postseason hopes (along with Ed Orgeron's future employment in Baton Rouge) into jeopardy.

LSU currently has a better SEC conference record (2-1)  than Arkansas (1-2). The big difference is that LSU's conference wins came against Mississippi State and Missouri, both currently with 2-4 records. Arkansas' losses have come against Texas A&M and Alabama, the conference's two unbeaten teams so far this season. Between LSU and Arkansas, the Razorbacks still come off looking the strongest team.

Week 12: Nov. 19 vs. Florida (5-1)

The good news for LSU is that the rescheduled Florida game will be at home instead of Gainesville, as originally scheduled. The bad news is that Florida could be 8-1 by the time the two schools finally meet up this season.

Florida is currently 5-1, and has a bye this Saturday. It then faces three straight SEC opponents in Georgia, Arkansas, and South Carolina. While the Arkansas game may be a tough one for the Gators, UGA  is struggling, and South Carolina is even worse. By the time the rescheduled LSU-Florida game comes around, the Gators could possibly be 8-1.

The Gator's only loss this season came against SEC East rival Tennessee, which went onto lose to Texas A&M and Alabama over the following two games. That's a long-winded way of saying that Florida will be a difficult game to win for the Tigers.

Week 13: Nov. 24 @Texas A&M

LSU vs. Texas A&M is the only FBS game scheduled for this Thanksgiving. If that doesn't make it high profile enough, Texas A&M could still be in the running for at least an invite to a New Year's Six bowl game by then.

The Tigers currently have a five-game winning streak against the Aggies, going back to the 2011 Cotton Bowl. LSU has gone on to beat Texas A&M in the four time they have faced each other since the Aggies' joined the SEC in 2012. Of course, what's past is past. If LSU does manage to win this year, it could be a huge factor in determining whether Texas A&M or Alabama go to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.

The last season LSU didn't go to a bow game was in 1999. It faces a difficult path to bowl eligibility this season, needing two wins to guarantee at least a 6-6 record this season.

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