Dec. 1, 2007 is a day that many fans forget about when discussing LSU’s 2007-2008 championship. It’s a day where everything fell into place for the Tigers, and if things hadn’t gone the way they did, they would have one less championship under their belts.
Two weeks before this, the Tigers were a sure thing to attend the national title. They were the No. 1 team in the nation and had two games left in the season: a 7-4 Arkansas and the SEC Championship.
The SEC Championship was expected to be a challenge, with the two contending teams in the East being top-25 teams in Georgia and Tennessee. Based on the season LSU was having, they were likely to handle it.
The problem is, they forgot to win the first game.
In a three-overtime victory over the Tigers, the Arkansas Razorbacks ran for 385 yards behind a historic performance by Darren McFadden, who ran for 206 yards and had four total touchdowns.
Just like that, all hope for a title was lost. Was it?
In next week’s polls, LSU was granted a generous ranking of No. 5 despite losing to an unranked opponent. This made it so there was a chance to make it, albeit an improbable one.
For LSU to earn a spot in the title, the following had to happen: LSU had to defeat No. 14 Tennessee in the SEC Championship without Matt Flynn, No. 1 Missouri had to lose to No. 9 Oklahoma, Pittsburgh would have to upset No. 2 West Virginia, and the voters had to be impressed enough by LSU’s performance to have them jump No. 4 Georgia.
Three out of four of these were at least plausible, with LSU having enough talent to defeat Tennessee and impress voters without Flynn and Oklahoma and Missouri expected to be a close game. West Virginia losing to Pittsburgh seemed impossible, however, with the Mountaineers being four-touchdown favorites.
LSU weren’t focused on that though; they had a game to win.
Behind stout defense that contributed a pick-six to take a 21-14 lead and another pick in our territory to seal the game, LSU defeated the Volunteers. The rest was out of their hands.
The Oklahoma-Missouri game was next on the list, and it turned out not being as close as expected. A strong Missouri offense headlined by players such as Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin were held to just 3 points in the half as Oklahoma took down the No. 1 team, 38-17.
Lastly, the Tigers were banking on the upset of West Virginia. They were asking for a miracle and very few were expecting what would happen next.
Everything went wrong for West Virginia. One of the best offenses in the nation struggled to move the ball and turned it over five times and Pat McAfee missed two field goals. Had one of those gone through, they likely would’ve won.
And despite ending up in enemy territory twice in the fourth quarter, they failed to score on both drives and could not regain the lead. The No. 2 team in the nation would fall in devastating fashion, 13-9.
When the next set of BCS rankings came out, the Tigers had impressed the voters, coming in at No. 2. They would become the only team with two losses to ever make it to the big game, and the rest was history.