Crowded SEC race could mean BCS nightmare

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Crowded SEC race could mean BCS nightmare

From Comcast SportsNet
By Ralph D. Russo, The Associated Press
Chaos! You want BCS chaos?

If No. 3 Arkansas beats No. 1 LSU on Friday in Baton Rouge, La., now you really have some chaos.

Remember the 2008 season? Texas beat Oklahoma, Texas Tech beat Texas and Oklahoma beat Texas Tech, producing a three-way tie among highly ranked teams atop the Big 12 South standings. This would be similar, though the Southeastern Conference has a different tiebreaker system.

It can be a little confusing on paper, but heres all you need to know: If Arkansas beats LSU and Alabama takes care of Auburn on Saturday, and the Tigers, Crimson Tide and Razorbacks finish in a three-way tie for first in the SEC West, the team with the lowest rating in the BCS standings is eliminated.

Then the tie between the two highest-rated teams is broken by head-to-head result.

Its a better system than the Big 12 had at the time, which simply was to pick the team with the best BCS rating of the three. Had the Big 12 used the SEC system or something similar in 08, Texas would have played for the Big 12 title with a chance to reach the BCS title game. Instead Oklahoma moved on, pounded Missouri for the Big 12 title and lost the BCS title game to Florida 24-14.

Longhorns fans are still bitter.

Even with the SECs tiebreakers, a possible three-way tie is still going to be messy.

If Arkansas hands LSU its first loss in Tiger Stadium, it seems logical that voters in the Harris and coaches polls, which are used to rank teams in the BCS standings along with computers, would jump the Razorbacks past the Tigers.

But it would be hard to justify having Arkansas ahead of Alabama, considering the Tide beat the Razorbacks 38-14 in Tuscaloosa back in late September.

So Alabama is No. 1, Arkansas is No. 2 and LSU, which beat the Tide 9-6 on the road in overtime and has by far the most impressive nonconference wins of the three, would be No. 3?

The fact is there are no good solutions. And the reality is the team that loses the head-to-head tiebreaker and doesnt play No. 13 Georgia in the Southeastern Conference championshipand risk becoming a two-loss team and being eliminated from national title contention is probably better off.

Now that, right there, is chaos.

Jason Heyward: Banged-up Cubs ready to be tested vs. Nationals

Jason Heyward: Banged-up Cubs ready to be tested vs. Nationals

WASHINGTON – The cut on Jason Heyward’s left hand has been compared to a third-degree burn, an injury that would have required stiches if the skin had not ripped off already.

The Cubs can’t count on their Gold Glove outfielder – or their World Series MVP (Ben Zobrist) or ERA titleholder (Kyle Hendricks) – for this four-game showdown against the Washington Nationals. All-Star shortstop Addison Russell didn’t start Monday night while dealing with a sore right shoulder, taking more juice out of this potential playoff preview at Nationals Park.

“Every day’s a test, regardless of whether we’re healthy or not,” Heyward said after taking about 15 swings off a tee. “Bottom line, every team goes through tests. Every single season, guys get hurt. And whoever’s there at the end of the year in the playoffs, they handled that the best and was able to weather that storm the best. 

“This team’s no different. Every single day, you’re expected to win. We expect each other to win and go out there and try to find a way to get it done every day. There’s going to be more tests, but that’s what you want.”

The next step for Heyward would be getting cleared to take a full batting practice.

“It’s getting better every day,” Heyward said, “but until it gets to the point where I can swing every day and take BP, I just got to do a little more waiting and healing.”

Heyward – who sliced open his hand while trying to make a sliding catch in foul territory on June 18 – is eligible to be activated from the 10-day disabled list on Thursday but would probably need some at-bats in the minors first.  

“We’ll let you know,” Heyward said. “I don’t do ‘probablys.’ I probably wouldn’t have wanted to be on the DL, either, but we’ll see what happens.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Did Bulls get fleeced?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Did Bulls get fleeced?

On the latest edition of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, David Kaplan is joined Anthony Herron (NBC Sports), David Haugh (Chicago Tribune) and Danny Parkins (670 The Score) to discuss the madness in Chicago this weekend.

The panel breaks down the crazy draft night for both the Blackhawks and Bulls while wondering if Tom Thibodeau fleeced Gar/Pax.

Then, Mark Buehrle had his number retired on Saturday. Even Kap loved it.

Listen to the SportsTalk Live Podcast now.