Les Miles chat with Advocate sportswriter Scott Rabalais

Even ticket prices making mockery of ACC football

If you haven’t seen it, ticket prices for Saturday’s ACC Championship Game in Charlotte, N.C., between Florida State and Georgia Tech can be had for the meager sum of – wait for it – $3.75. Plus shipping and handling, of course.

That’s the figure per StubHub.com.

Seriously – $3.75. Even tickets for the rescheduled Nicholls State game at Oregon State on Saturday are going for more than that – with one available for $7. You can get two tickets to the ACC showdown for that, a game that will send its winner to the Orange Bowl.

Meanwhile, it’ll cost you $330 to perch high enough up in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta to touch the circus-tent roof. But that’s what happens when you’re talking about an SEC Championship Game that is in effect a BCS semifinal between No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia.

It’s another ignominious moment for the ACC, which shutout 4-0 by the SEC this past weekend. Florida devoured FSU’s BCS title game hopes 37-26, South Carolina ended Clemson’s BCS bowl hopes with a backup quarterback 27-17, Georgia crushed archrival Georgia Tech 42-10, and even Vanderbilt humbled Wake Forest 55-21.

What does this have to do with LSU? Not a whole lot, except if LSU winds up in the Chick-fil-A Bowl it will likely face another 10-2 team in Clemson. Just last week it looked quite possible, even probable, that these two could hook up in the Sugar Bowl, but LSU didn’t get any help from Florida State against Florida and Clemson could hold up its end against South Carolina.

While the Chick-fil-A isn’t at the top of the pecking order of the bowls available to LSU (Capital One, Cotton and Outback are the others), the matchup with Clemson would probably be the best LSU could get – on paper. According to Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com, folks in Las Vegas say LSU would be  3-point favorite over Notre Dame, so you can well imagine LSU would be an even bigger favorite over Clemson.

By the way, the only way Clemson doesn’t play in the Chick-fil-A is if Florida State gets upset by Georgia Tech, which seems mighty unlikely.

LSU football chat with Advocate sportswriter Les East

National bowl predictions for LSU

With just one week left in the season the Tigers’ bowl projections are all over the map.

Shut out of the BCS, LSU’s possibilities are the Capital One Bowl (Jan. 1, Orlando), the AT&T Cotton Bowl (Jan. 4, Arlington, Texas), the Outback Bowl (Jan. 1, Tampa) and the Chick-fil-A Bowl (Dec. 31, Atlanta). Bowl bids will be finalized next Sunday.

Here’s a sampling of some national bowl projections for LSU. Advocate sportswriter Ted Lewis projects the Tigers in the Cotton Bowl against Texas:

Edward Aschoff, ESPN.com: Outback Bowl (no opponent listed)

Bill Bender, The Sporting News: Chick-fil-A vs. Clemson

CollegeFootballNews.com: Outback vs. Michigan

CollegeSportsMadness.com: Cotton vs. Oklahoma State

Brad Edwards, ESPN.com: Cotton vs. Texas

Matt Murschel,OrlandoSentinel: Outback vs. Michigan

Jerry Palm, CBSSports.com: Chick-fil-A vs. Clemson

Mark Schlabach, ESPN.com: Chick-fil-A vs. Clemson

Jim Tomlin, Tampa Bay Times: Chick-fil-A vs. Clemson


Some potential BCS scenarios for LSU

How can LSU get into a BCS game? Let us count the ways.

Actually, there are probably a few scenarios we haven’t thought of, but here are a few possibilities.

As you will see, all of them hinge on Florida losing Saturday at Florida State and falling out of the BCS top four, which virtually guarantees the Gators at least an at-large BCS bowl slot (and a decent shot at the national championship game).

Can LSU make it to the BCS championship game with a 10-2 record? Probably not, but were Alabama to do the unthinkable and lose to Auburn today, putting LSU in the SEC Championship Game (with a win by Texas A&M over Missouri) then the Tigers could possibly get the extra bump in the BCS and get into the top two.

LSU’s best BCS shot remains the Allstate Sugar Bowl. If the SEC champion moves on to the BCS championship game and Florida loses to Florida State, the Sugar would have to choose between 10-2 LSU, 10-2 Florida, the SEC championship game loser (with at least two losses), 10-2 Texas A&M (if it beats Missouri) and 10-2 South Carolina (if it beats Clemson).

BCS championship game

Notre Dame loses at USC

Alabamaloses toAuburn

Oregonloses to Oregon State or in the Pac-12 Championship Game

Florida loses at Florida State

Kansas State loses toTexas

Texas A&M beats Missouri

LSU beats Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, vaulting past Alabama

Sugar Bowl

Florida loses at FSU

Sugar picks LSU over Florida, SEC championship game loser, A&M, South Carolina

Rose Bowl

Florida loses at FSU

Notre Dame loses at USC

Stanford loses at UCLA

Oregon beats Oregon State

Oregon beats UCLA next week

SEC champion plays Oregon in BCS championship game

Sugar Bowl picks Notre Dame as the SEC replacement and No Pac-12 teams in top 14

Rose would have to pick LSU over potential one- and two-loss teams like Clemson, Oklahoma and Texas A&M

Fiesta Bowl

Florida loses at FSU

Notre Dame loses at USC

Sugar Bowl picks Notre Dame as replacement for SEC champion, which goes to BCS championship game

Stanford beats UCLA this week

UCLA beats Stanford in Pac-12 championship game, goes to Rose Bowl

Oregon beats Oregon State, goes to BCS championship game

Fiesta would have to pick LSU over potential one- and two-loss teams like Clemson, Oklahoma and Texas A&M


Cold weather awaits Tigers, Razorbacks

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.– It’s a cold, sunny day at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium as No. 8 LSU prepares to play its regular-season finale against Arkansas on Friday afternoon.

A cold front moved through the area Thursday night and dropped temperatures substantially. The temperature will be in the low 50s for the 1:39 p.m. kickoff and are expected to drop throughout the latter stages of the game.

The Tigers (9-2 and 5-2 in the Southeastern Conference) need to victory to remain in contention for a BCS bowl bid. If LSU wins it will stay alive in the race for the SEC West title. It would then need Texas A&M to defeat Missouri and Auburnto upset Alabama on Saturday.

The winner of the West will play East champion Georgia in the SEC Championship game Dec. 1 in the Georgia Dome.

Even if the Tigers don’t get the help needed to win the West, a victory against the Razorbacks could put them in a BCS Bowl such as the Sugar Bowl. A victory by Florida State against Florida would aid LSU’s chances of getting into a BCS bowl.

Arkansas, which was projected to be an SEC West contender as well before the season, is concluding a disappointing year. The Razorbacks, 4-7 and 2-5, will honor 22 outgoing seniors, including record-setting quarterback Tyler Wilson, in a ceremony prior to their final college game.

This is also expected to be the last game for Arkansas interim head coach John L. Smith.

There are no anticipated changes to the Tigers starting lineup.

For in-game updates, follow @LesEast, @Scott Rabalais, @scott_hotard and @advocatesports on Twitter.








Pick Six with Arkansas beat writer Robbie Neiswanger

Our final Pix Six of the regular season is with Arkansas beat writer Robbie Neiswanger of the Arkansas News Bureau and ArkansasNews.com. He began covering Arkansas football in 2002.

We’ve seen the kind of season Arkansas is suffering through at LSU before, where a team starts in the top 10 and completely falls apart. Was this obvious to see coming or did it seem before the season that this could at least be a highly ranked if not championship team?

We knew Arkansas had some big question marks from a personnel standpoint at positions like the offensive line, linebacker and defensive back. We also knew Bobby Petrino’s thumb print on this program was significant and his loss would be felt in some ways. But with so many veterans and the rest of the coaching staff back, you also felt the “Petrino way” would still help this team win games. So the results are surprising. I was skeptical about Arkansas being a championship team in the preseason, but never imaged a 4-8 or 5-7 finish was possible.

One figures Arkansas will move the ball through the air with Tyler Wilson and Cobi Hamilton, but the Razorbacks are 12th in the SEC scoring (24.5 ppg). Are turnovers the main culprit? Given that LSU leads the SEC in takeaways (29) and Arkansas leads in turnovers (29) is this the Hogs’ biggest concern?

Turnovers have been the big issue. It’s really baffling how many times this team has put the ball on the ground or thrown interceptions. But it’s not the only problem. Arkansas has moved the ball well so many times this season, but has struggled in the red zone because of problems up front and in the run game. There have been careless penalties, too, that have wiped out big drives. An illegal formation penalty probably cost them the Ole Miss game. Another one wiped out a 40-yard gain on the first series against South Carolina. So, yes, turnovers are the big problem. But there have been so many others all year long.

Knile Davis is averging just 38.4 yards per game. Why has his return season been such a disappointment, as is the Arkansas ground game (last in the SEC) overall? One assumes the Razorbacks have been behind so much they are forced to throw.

For whatever reason, Davis has not been the same as the running back who tore up the conference the back half of the 2010 season. He has looked tentative. He’s missing the burst that led to big runs. He also has been slowed by a hamstring injury the past three or four weeks. Dennis Johnson has done a solid job as the No. 1 guy throughout the second half of the season, but Arkansas just hasn’t been able to break off the big play or enjoy sustained success on the ground throughout a game.

How many Arkansas fans would take Bobby Petrino back right now, skid marks and all? And how is athletic director Jeff Long surviving after being the man to hire and fire Bobby?

A: There’s definitely a small minority that think all should be forgiven. That’s what happens when you go 21-5 with a Sugar Bowl berth and Cotton Bowl victory over a two-year span. But most understand the Bobby Petrino era is over and won’t be revisited. As for Long, he’s doing quite well at the moment. He just received a contract extension and raise. All of it coming before his new coach in even in place.

With nothing but pride left to play for, how much energy and emotion do you think the Razorbacks will play with Friday? If LSU, a slow starting team, can get up two scores early, will that have an impact?

I think you’ll see an inspired Arkansas team in the first quarter. They’ll probably play well early on. That has been Arkansas’ identity all year long. The problem: Everything falls apart after that. Usually one setback turns into two, then three, then four. Next thing you know, the rout is on. Arkansas hasn’t handled adversity well on the field all season, so if LSU starts fast the Razorbacks are probably done.

OK, throw a dart at the board and tell us who you think the next Arkansas coach will be and when.

That’s what it would be at this point. Just throw a dart. Gary Patterson? Mike Gundy? James Franklin? Jon Gruden? Art Briles? Do we have everybody covered? I usually have a gut feeling on where things are going in regard to coaching searches. But I’ve had a hard time getting a read on Long so far with this one. I do think it’s nearing the end, though. I would expect a coach in place shortly after the final Saturday of the season.

LSU at Arkansas: Times of interest

Times of interest for this week’s LSU-Arkansas game:

Thursday, Nov. 22

1:50 p.m. – Team departs from campus (leaving from Faculty Club)

3 p.m. – Charter flight departs Baton Rouge Airport

4:15 p.m. – Team arrives in Fayetteville

5 p.m. – Team arrives at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium for brief walk around

5:50 p.m. – Team arrives at its headquarters hotel, Embassy Suites (Rogers, Ark.)

Friday, Nov. 23

11 a.m. – Team departs hotel for stadium

11:30 a.m. – Team arrives at stadium; LSU Sports Radio Network pregame show starts

1:39 p.m. – Kickoff: LSU vs. Arkansas on CBS

8:30 p.m. (tentative) – Team arrives back in Baton Rouge

No. 8 LSU at Arkansas in-game chat

Arkansas wants win for seniors

Arkansas coach John L. Smith said he’s hoping the Razorbacks can send their departing seniors out with an upset victory against No. 8 on Friday afternoon in Fayetteville, Ark.

Smith’s interim tenure will come to an end as will a very disappointing season for Arkansas, which was a preseason top 10 pick but has struggled to a 4-7 record and a 2-5 mark in the Southeastern Conference.

“We’re looking forward to sending our seniors out the right way,” Smith said Wednesday morning during the weekly SEC coaches teleconference. “This has been a great class to be a part of. They’ve been a part of a lot of good things.

“They’ve had a lot of adversity this year and they’ve handled that adversity with class and dignity and done it the right way. It will be an emotional day to see those guys leave.”

Smith said the Razorbacks “did everything the right” in the classroom and on the practice field.

“They went to class and the practice field every day to work hard,” Smith said. “They were a pleasure to be around. They want to do the best they can and get better. This season has been a disappointment, but they’ve been a great crew to work with.”

Smith said Arkansas has had to play an inordinate number of freshmen “before they were ready” because of injuries. He said that’s a negative this season but will lead to a “bright future” for them and the program.

“The state of the program is fine,” Smith said. “It’ll take a year or so to get back but there’s a positive outlook.”

Smith cited the Razorbacks’ propensity for committing turnovers – they’ve committed an SEC-worst 29 – as one of the reasons they have squandered numerous good starts in games.

“If we had played every quarter like the first quarter,” Smith said, “it would be a totally different season.”