First of all, congratulations to the Nevada Wolf Pack on their thrilling win against the Boise State Broncos tonight. As the fan of a team in South Carolina that won its first major-sport national title in the College World Series, defeated a No. 1 team for the first time in school history, and finally won an SEC East title after 18 years of trying, I can speak from a little bit of experience: You will never forget this game. And you will never want to try.
Now, what does the win in Reno mean for fans of the SEC. For Boise haters -- and I'm not one -- there is enough to celebrate just in the fact that a team they thought to be inferior to the other national championship contenders has been definitively eliminated from the race. There are a lot of those people in the SEC, so they will be happy enough about that.
As a practical matter, and as Westerdawg has already pointed out, this all but eliminates any doubt that the SEC will have two teams in the BCS. That, in turn, likely bumps at least some of the remaining teams up a slot from where they would have been if LSU or Arkansas had been dropped from the Sugar Bowl. If Auburn wins the SEC Championship Game, the winner of LSU-Arkansas will go to the Sugar. If South Carolina wins, Auburn will likely go to another BCS bowl, which could drop teams like Alabama, Arkansas and LSU but probably wouldn't really affect anyone lower than that.
It also could help LSU in the nuclear scenario. If Auburn and Oregon lose, LSU now becomes one of the front-runners to play in the national title game. The only competitors are a team that lost the week before; the Big Ten champion, currently ranked behind LSU (all of them) in a down year for that conference; Oklahoma State if they win out; an assortment of teams that also didn't win their conference; or a two- or three-loss conference champion (not happening). If the top two teams and TCU lose, the Bayou Bengals are almost a lock. If Oregon and TCU lose, but Auburn and LSU win, the BCS will have to seriously confront the issue for which Florida provided an easy answer in 2006: When the best two teams appear to be in the same conference, do you go with a rematch of regular-season game?
But all of that can wait for the end of the season. For now, even neutral fans should be able to appreciate what Nevada was able to do tonight and why it makes our game one of the best around. And it should serve as a warning for anyone who tries to game the implications out too far: The season is still far from over.