To give you an idea of how messed up college football rankings were (and continue to be for that matter), the #3 team in the country, the 2006 LSU Tigers, finished third in the SEC West. Third. And of course, this being college football, the teams above them were ranked lower than the Bayou Bengals. But alas, it’s when you beat someone in college football, and the LSU Tigers beat the Arkansas Razorbacks in the last game of the season to secure a prestigious bowl berth.
Number 9 (at the time) LSU traveled north to Little Rock to take on the #5 Arkansas Razorbacks. A win for the Tigers and a BCS bid (dollar signs, y’all) would be all but assured. After all, LSU’s only two losses were on the road to two top-5 teams in Auburn and Florida. But, they had to beat Arkansas and wait out Arkansas’s result in the SEC title game to be sure. It turns out, both happened.
The game started out well for the Razorbacks as Darren McFadden scored a rushing TD to put Arkansas up early in the game. LSU then took the lead on two impressive drives. The first, a 70-yard drive, culminated in a Keiland Williams 29-yard TD run. The second, another 70-yard drive, ended with a JaMarcus Russel TD pass to Craig Davis. Arkansas countered but thanks to a missed extra point and failed two point conversion, the Tigers took a two-point lead into the locker room.
LSU got a field goal early in the second half and added a kickoff return for a TD and another Russell TD pass to eventually get out to a 31-26 lead late in the game. Despite being outgained in total yards and despite getting fewer first downs, LSU was in a position to win the game and notch another key road win.
But there was one more defensive stand to make, and as Les Miles had a growing reputation as being a great defensive coach, he needed a great defensive stand to take home the victory.
He got one.
Arkansas had the ball with 2:07 to go on the clock and needed a touchdown. They didn’t even get a first down. The LSU defense held the Razorbacks to four straight incomplete passes and then ran out the clock.
The record was 10-2 and the Sugar Bowl called Les Miles and the Tigers the next week.