In the event of cochampions, the Sugar has, in the past, taken the higher-ranked team. If Auburn and LSU tie, that would be Auburn, especially considering that LSU has a near-certain loss to Miami still ahead on Nov. 19.
But keep in mind that Auburn lost to LSU, 7-6, Auburn's only loss to date. If the Sugar Bowl committee were to pick Auburn and say 'bye, you Bengals, the folks in Baton Rouge would be tougher to handle than a hot bowl of gumbo.
At least LSU has a marquee-name quarterback in Tommy Hodson, who, despite a generally disappointing performance, engineered a late scoring drive against Alabama to set up David Browndyke's decisive 34-yard field goal. Meanwhile Auburn and Georgia got ready for each other with surprisingly easy wins over Southern Mississippi (38-8) and Florida (26-3), respectively. Even the return of tailback Emmitt Smith (68 yards rushing) couldn't help the slumping Gators, now 5-4 after a 5-0 start. Even so, the All-American Bowl is still interested in Florida.
THE COWBOYS' LAMENT
Since 1932, when the presidential candidates were named Roosevelt and Hoover, Oklahoma has lost only twice in Stillwater, the home of intrastate rival Oklahoma State. The Sooners got out of town with another win last Saturday, but only a step ahead of the posse.
Trailing 31-28, which would be the final score, the Cowboys found themselves with a third-and-two at the Sooner 19 late in the game. Quarterback Mike Gundy's handoff went to tailback Barry Sanders, the national rushing leader, who had already gained 214 yards and scored two touchdowns, but he got only a yard. Worse, a personal-foul call against Oklahoma State fullback Garrett Limbrick made it fourth-and-16 instead of fourth-and-one with 43 seconds to play.
It was unclear exactly what had happened, and the referees weren't talking after the game. One possibility was that side judge Michael Borgard thought Limbrick had cursed him. Limbrick said he was addressing his unsavory remarks to Sooner linebacker Richard Dillon, from whom he had just been separated by the official.
Whatever. The call meant that State's only chance was a pass into the end zone. Gundy put it right on the money to wide receiver Brent Parker, who got behind Oklahoma free safety Kevin Thompson. Parker dropped the ball.
The consolation was that bowl scouts won't take their eyes off the colorful Cowboys, who are 6-2 and almost certain to be 8-2 when the bids go out Nov. 19.
ARMED AND INJURED