No national title implications, but games aren't meaningless

LSU coach Les Miles and the top-ranked Tigers have a little business to take care of Saturday in Atlanta before they play for the national championship on Jan. 9.

Gerald Herbert

The Southeastern Conference title game between No. 1 LSU and No. 12 Georgia is not meaningless.

Whether it has national title implications is at best debatable, but there is no denying that the winning an SEC championship represents far more than a step on the road to bigger goals for the Tigers, who could very well lose to Georgia and still play in the BCS championship game.

There will be meaningful games going on all over the country, from Tampa, where

No. 22 West Virginia will face South Florida

tonight with a chance to all but clinch the Big East title, to Eugene, Ore., where No. 8 Oregon hosts UCLA in the first Pac-12 championship game Friday night.

To the teams and the fans of those teams, and fans in general, Championship Weekend is still must-see TV. But because of the Bowl Championship Series, the national title race is all but a done deal. So, no, realistic national title hopes are not on the line in Atlanta or Stillwater, Okla. But don't dare call those games meaningless.


No. 22 West Virginia (-1½) at South Florida: Mountaineers need a victory and Cincinnati win against UConn to earn BCS bid ... WEST VIRGINIA 28-24.


UCLA (+32) at No. 8 Oregon: Having a 6-6 team with a lame duck coach in the title game was not exactly what Larry Scott had in mind ... OREGON 55-14.

Northern Illinois (-3½) vs. Ohio at Detroit: Huskies were upset in last year's MAC title game. Finish the job this time ... NORTHERN ILLINOIS 38-28.


No. 1 LSU (-13½) vs. No. 12 Georgia at Atlanta: In SEC title game, Tigers leave no doubt ... LSU 38-14.

No. 13 Oklahoma (+3) at No. 3 Oklahoma State: Cowboys trying to lock up first BCS bid ... OKLAHOMA STATE 42-28.

No. 5 Virginia Tech (-7) vs. No. 21 Clemson at Charlotte: In ACC title game, Hokies might be able to claim dual-residency in Miami soon ... VIRGINIA TECH 28-23.

No. 11 Michigan State (+9½) vs. No. 15 Wisconsin at Indianapolis: In Big Ten title game, no miracles this time for Sparty ... WISCONSIN 42-21.

No. 24 Southern Miss (+13) at No. 7 Houston: Cougars can lock up first BCS bid for a C-USA team ... HOUSTON 49-35.

New Mexico (+48½) at No. 9 Boise State: Consider the Lobos a goodbye present to Kellen Moore in his last home game ... BOISE STATE 52-7.

Iowa State (+11) at No. 16 Kansas State: Bill Snyder, coach of the year ... KANSAS ST. 39-24.

UNLV (+39½) at No. 18 TCU: Horned Frogs bid farewell to the Mountain West ... TCU 48-7.

Texas (+2½) at No. 19 Baylor: Robert Griffin III makes one last Heisman push ... BAYLOR 35-31.

Last week's record: 14-2 (straight); 8-8 (vs. spread);

Season record: 201-51 (straight); 121-106-1 (vs. spread).