LSU is in control of the SEC West race.

The 32-31 overtime victory over Alabama on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium gave the Tigers control.

And now it’s Tell the Truth Monday.

The truth is that college football is unpredictable. Oftentimes, things don’t go the way most people expect them to. And trying to project what might happen in a particular game based on comparative scores can be downright foolhardy.

So, as significant as the victory over the then-No. 6 Crimson Tide was for then-No. 15 LSU, a lot can still change during the next 3 weeks.

Still, it’s difficult to overlook the fact that the Tigers (7-2, 5-1 SEC) will play for the SEC championship if they can beat a team that lost to Liberty (Arkansas) and a team that lost to Appalachian State (Texas A&M). In between, LSU plays a nonconference game against UAB.

When Arkansas, which was ranked earlier in the season, loses to Liberty, and Texas A&M, which was in the top 10 earlier in the season, loses to Appalachian State, it opens a lot of eyes.

But Liberty is a good football team and Appalachian State is a good football team. So as surprising as those outcomes were, they don’t mean Arkansas and/or Texas A&M can’t beat LSU.

The Tigers are an ascending team. They have beaten Florida, Ole Miss and Alabama consecutively.

If they continue playing as they have been — and especially if they continue to improve — they are likely to win their next 3 games and climb into the middle of the top 10 with a 10-2 record and head to Atlanta to play Georgia for the conference title on Dec. 3.

Head coach Brian Kelly said at the start of last week that the key for the Tigers against Bama, which was favored by nearly 2 touchdowns, was to recognize that the fundamentally sound, focused approach to preparation led to the success against Florida and Ole Miss and must be replicated.

LSU did that.

The Tigers were focused and well-prepared against Bama. They had their best and most complete performance of the season.

There’s no doubt Kelly will have a similar message for his team again this week — both privately and publicly.

If the Tigers aren’t focused and fundamentally sound in preparation this week, Arkansas is good enough to beat them — even though it is just 5-4 and 2-3 in the SEC.

The LSU players will be congratulated and praised everywhere they go in the wake of their victory against the Tide.

The Tigers will move up when the new College Football Playoff rankings are released on Tuesday night. They know how close they are to winning the West. They know how close they are to playing for the SEC championship. They know getting a bid to the CFP isn’t out of the question if they finish 11-2 as SEC champions.

But this is Tell the Truth Monday.

And the truth is that paying more than absolutely minimal attention to the possibilities over the next several weeks is counter-productive to turning those possibilities into reality.

Saturday night was a special night. It was a 4-hour advertisement for Saturday night in Tiger Stadium at its best — a Top 25 matchup against a bitter rival, with championship implications, on national TV, with LSU royalty coming home to roam the sidelines in front of a loud, passionate, sellout crowd that believed and was rewarded.

Saturday morning in Fayetteville will be different.

The Tigers and Hogs will kick off at 11 a.m. local time. Being away from home and kicking off 7 hours earlier than last week presents a different challenge.

Of course, Arkansas also presents a different challenge than Alabama did.

At the end of September, Kelly said the next month or so would define his 1st Tigers team as it entered the teeth of its SEC schedule.

The recovery from a 17-0 deficit to beat Auburn on the road demonstrated character and heart.

The 40-13 home loss to Tennessee demonstrated just how far the team had to go in order to compete with the league’s best.

The win at Florida demonstrated a turning point for the offense and team-wide improvement.

The win against Ole Miss did more of the same.

And now the win against Alabama showed this program is well ahead of schedule.

Kelly, his staff and his players have shown remarkable growth.

They’ve done the heavy lifting necessary to become an SEC title contender.

But the truth is, they now face another significant challenge — handling significant, and largely unexpected, success.