Razorback Recon: LSU Tigers Hope To Break Free and Not Just Break

by Tre Baker  on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 2:00 pm  

It's possible that LSU could lose this Golden Boot trophy again and still make it to the BCS national championship, but Tiger players refuse to talk about that. (Photo by Mark Wagner)

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

While Arkansas fans worry about the nightmare BCS scenario of beating the No. 1 team in the country and somehow not even getting a shot at the SEC Championship, pundits in Louisiana seem to think that whatever happens on Friday, the LSU Tigers will remain in the proverbial catbird seat.

The Baton Rouge Advocate talks with ESPN's Brad Edwards who says that even with a loss to Arkansas, LSU would likely only become the No. 2 team in the country as far as the computers are concerned. A big win by Arkansas and a heavy loss by Alabama would be the only things to hamper LSU's status and Edwards believes that both circumstances are unlikely to happen.

That said, according to Edwards, “Arkansas is more realistically playing for national championship survival than hopes for SEC West survival.”

Scooter Hobbs of Lake Charles' American Press makes the case that if there were playoffs deciding the national championship instead of BCS formulas, LSU would likely sit its star players this week against Arkansas, much like NFL teams with a lock on first-round byes do during Week 17.

With LSU's short-term fate seemingly locked-up, win or lose, is there a chance the Tigers will be caught sleeping? The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that LSU players aren't even giving the BCS rankings a second thought. "Almost to a man, the Tigers pleaded ignorance to the multitude of possibilities, starting with their game with No. 3 Arkansas, where a loss could force a three-way tie with Alabama for the SEC West title and knock 11-0 LSU out of the running. They say they have no idea what are the chances of a rematch with Alabama."

Tiger players say that Arkansas won't be the team that gets past them again, not for the fourth time in five years (if it happens.) The Tigers plan to go deeper into their secondary Friday to combat the Razorbacks' offensive prowess. Safety LSU Brandon Taylor says that the Tigers will be focused on Arkansas, unlike last year. Defensive tackle Michael Brockers hints that Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson – who's been beaten up pretty good already by various defenses – may want to add some extra padding underneath his uniform.

Two LSU players who aren't saying anything publicly this week are the two quarterbacks, Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson. Coach Les Miles says he's restricting their access to the press to keep them focused on a job that neither player wants to lose.

Arkansas players aren't speaking to the press either this week, but for more understandable reasons. With the Razorbacks mourning their fallen teammate, Garrett Uekman, Bobby Petrino has established a media blackout until after Friday's game. The Louisiana media has been sympathetic to Arkansas' loss, memorializing Uekman and mentioning Miles' thoughts on the player he recruited in Lafayette's Advertiser: "[Uekman] conducted himself very well on our campus. It is very unfortunate. Death is never timely and certainly is most difficult when you are young. I really want to express my condolences for my team and our school in recognition of his death. The loss of him to the Arkansas team and to his family are certainly felt."

Both squads have felt incredible off-the-field pressure in the past four days, some definitely more poignant than others, but it appears that both teams realize more than ever they need to be focused for only the game itself on Friday. Certainly not computer algorithms or alternate universe what-if's.

The Tigers have a lot of pride in their success this year, and whether or not they're lucky enough to play Georgia next week doesn't seem to be a factor in their drive to beat Arkansas.

No. 3 Arkansas will meet No. 1 LSU for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff Friday at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.



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