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Florida Gators-LSU Tigers loser still could reach BCS title game

Nice job: Florida teammates congratulate Riley Cooper for his second-quarter touchdown catch, on which he beat LSU cornerback Chris Hawkins.

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Nice job: Florida teammates congratulate Riley Cooper for his second-quarter touchdown catch, on which he beat LSU cornerback Chris Hawkins.

BATON ROUGE, La. — Despite its massive buildup as a must-win game all week, there might be no real loser in Saturday night's game between No. 1 Florida and No. 4 LSU because a loss might not derail LSU's championship title hopes.

BCS expert Jerry Palm said the possibility exists that LSU could still reach the BCS title game if it doesn't lose for the remainder of the season.

"No question that's possible," Palm said. "The loser needs to go on and win the SEC (championship). … That team also needs help in other places. But a one-loss SEC champ would likely be the highest-rated one-loss team."

Last season, Florida suffered a 31-30 loss to Ole Miss at home in the fourth game of the season but ran the table after that. The Gators beat Alabama to claim a spot in the BCS title game against No. 1 Oklahoma.

The Gators did the same in 2006, losing at Auburn before beating Arkansas in the SEC title game.

SCHOOL RECORD: With his 24-yard touchdown pass to roommate Riley Cooper late in the first half, Florida's Tim Tebow tied former QB Danny Wuerffel for touchdowns responsible for. The score gave Tebow 74 career touchdown passes, and he has rushed for 48.

KEEPING PERSPECTIVE: Arkansas might be one of the most underrated teams in the SEC. And one analyst believes the Razorbacks present an interesting dilemma for the Gators this week. The Gators might have a tendency to overlook the Razorbacks after being involved in so much hype surrounding the LSU game.

"The last two years, Florida has lost to teams they were, on paper, better than and at home," CBS studio analyst Tim Brando said, including 20-17 to Auburn in 2007.

"(This week), they've got to play Arkansas, and it's those games when college players tend to exhale. And they are human, even Florida. That's when you can get beat up. And a lot of people are overlooking Arkansas this year. That can be a real trap game for Florida, even if they get past LSU."

ALL-STAR GATORS: Five Florida players have been invited to participate in the East-West Shrine game Jan. 23 at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando: Tebow, Cooper, RB/return specialist Brandon James, DE Jermaine Cunningham and LB Brandon Spikes.

Florida Gators-LSU Tigers loser still could reach BCS title game 10/11/09 [Last modified: Sunday, October 11, 2009 12:13am]

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