The Battle for the BCS (Maybe) Is Set: Arkansas 38, Mississippi State 31 (2OT)

If, like me, you looked at the SEC schedule this weekend and thought it was going to be relatively boring -- man, were we wrong. First, there was the thrilling fourth-quarter shootout between LSU and Ole Miss.

And then, there was the double-overtime, back-and-forth battle between Arkansas and Mississippi State that ended with the Razorbacks edging the Bulldogs to keep their BCS hopes alive. Ryan Mallett overcame a slow start for yet another 300-yard game, Knile Davis continued the running renaissance for Bobby Petrino's team, and the Razorbacks now prepare for a showdown in Little Rock with a big-money game on the line.

That showdown, of course, is with the same LSU team that survived a wild game against the Rebels. Whoever wins that game will have the inside track on a BCS berth should Auburn win out or lose out, and maybe even if the Tigers lose to Alabama but beat South Carolina. The winner would at worse likely head to the Cotton Bowl if the circumstances bump Auburn to the at-large BCS pool, which isn't a bad consolation prize.

For Mississippi State, the game was something of a rebound from the discouraging loss against Alabama last week. The Western Division Bulldogs proved that they can play with a top-tier SEC opponent for four quarters and then some. That's a good sign for Dan Mullen and State fans, even if the immediate result is a setback for what was shaping up a few weeks ago to be a dream season.

If nothing else, Saturday night proved that Starkville is now going to be a difficult place to play -- probably even without the cowbells. For Mississippi State, not being penciled in as a win for most opponents in the preseason is a sign that things are headed in the right direction.

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