Les Miles’ 8-1 Tigers are now the nation’s highest-ranked one-loss team, but will need their own miracle to even be able to play for the SEC championship. To get to Atlanta, LSU would need to win out against a schedule that includes a Nov. 27 meeting with 7-2 Arkansas in Little Rock, and for Cam Newton and Auburn to lose twice because of Auburn’s head-to-head win on Oct. 23. Based on recent history, voters are unlikely to elevate a team without a conference championship into the BCS National Championship Game.
Next up after LSU is 8-1 Stanford, which faces the same predicament; it can’t win the Pac-10 unless Oregon loses twice. Then comes 8-1 Wisconsin, which currently has a lower schedule-strength rating (70th in Sagarin) than TCU (62nd). Then we have Nebraska, which would have the best argument for jumping the non-AQs if it won out, including winning the Big 12 title game. But that conference doesn’t boast the same elevated respect level as the SEC, and the Huskers’ loss to now 4-5 Texas becomes more damaging by the week.