LSU could have wrapped up a berth in a New Year’s 6 bowl.
It might have gone to the Allstate Sugar Bowl and played a de facto home game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, some 90 miles from the Tigers campus.
There was even an outside chance LSU could have sneaked into the College Football Playoff with a little help.
But the 74-72, 7-overtime loss to Texas A&M on Saturday ended the CFP dream and probably took the Sugar Bowl out of the play.
A New Year’s 6 bowl is still conceivable in the form of the Fiesta Bowl or the Peach Bowl. A few Florida bowls are in the mix as well.
We’ll know more about the Tigers bowl prospects when the CFP rankings are updated Tuesday night and we’ll know their destination for sure next Sunday.
In the meantime, based on what we know right now in the wake of the loss to the Aggies, here are LSU’s three best bowl options:
3. Outback Bowl, Jan. 1, Tampa, Fla.
Let’s face it: You can pretty much throw a blanket over the Citrus, Outback and Gator bowls. You don’t have the prestige of the Sugar, Fiesta or Peach. In each case you’re going to be somewhere in Florida on or around New Year’s Day.
So how do you pick?
Well, no offense to the Citrus Bowl, but the Tigers have been there each of the past two seasons. Neither LSU nor the bowl really wants to do that again.
The Gator Bowl is kind of attractive because the Tigers haven’t been to Jacksonville since 1989. But the game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. That’s nice for people watching on TV, but it’s not much fun for the traveling fan.
So by default, we’re going to pick the Outback from among the three Florida bowls. Yeah, LSU was there just 5 years ago, but that’s better than having been there the past two years. And kickoff is at noon, so it doesn’t mess up New Year’s Eve. Ample time to recover from a night out at Ybor City.
2. Peach Bowl, Dec. 29, Atlanta
Yeah Dec. 29 isn’t a great place on the calendar. It’s like you were barely good enough to avoid those pre-Christmas bowls.
But you leave home right after Christmas, spend a couple of days in Atlanta before the game and you can even stick around for a day or two afterward and still be home for New Year’s Eve. And it’s at noon on a Saturday, leaving plenty of time to catch the Playoff semifinals that afternoon and night. Or maybe that’s too painful.
It’s not the ideal scenario, but what do you expect after losing to the Aggies?
1 Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 1, Tempe, Ariz.
Now we’re talking.
OK, the Tigers can’t slide very far in the CFP rankings if they’re going to wind up in the Fiesta.
But if they are ranked high enough – and remember they dropped only to No. 7 after losing to Alabama 29-0 – this is the best deal.
This game is played on New Year’s Day this season and the Fiesta Bowl has long been associated with New Year’s Day.
It’s a great bowl in a great location and LSU has never been.
If you’re listening, CFP committee, match up the Tigers and the Fiesta.