LSU checked in at No. 2 when the College Football Playoff rankings debuted Tuesday night. Here’s how the Tigers’ road to the championship game Jan. 11 in Glendale, Arizona, could shake out:

at No. 4 Alabama

WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Tuscaloosa, Ala.

AT STAKE: Both teams are trying to stay in the CFP top four. Nick Saban’s crew has the added pressure of probably being eliminated from CFP and SEC contention with a second loss. Probably.


WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 14

WHERE: Tiger Stadium

AT STAKE: Arkansas under Bret Bielema will be fighting for a bowl. LSU will be fighting to climb back into the CFP top four or stay there. Whatever the stakes, LSU always gets a fight from the Hogs.

at No. 18 Ole Miss

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 21

WHERE: Oxford, Miss.

AT STAKE: The Tigers and Rebels both control their destiny in the SEC West. If two-loss Ole Miss, led by QB Chad Kelly, goes on to win the SEC, the CFP would be thrown into chaos.

No. 19 Texas A&M

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 28

WHERE: Tiger Stadium

AT STAKE: In the best scenario, LSU will try to win against John Chavis and his Aggies defense to position itself for a CFP top-four spot. Even for an unbeaten LSU team, a loss this late could spell disaster.

SEC championship

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 5

WHERE: Atlanta

AT STAKE: No. 10 Florida has all but sewn up the SEC East, meaning LSU would have to win a testy rematch. The Gators and RB Kelvin Taylor probably have to beat Florida State to stay in CFP contention.

CFP semifinals

WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 31


AT STAKE: Based on Tuesday’s rankings, LSU would have to eliminate reigning champ Ohio State (and Ezekiel Elliott) in the Cotton Bowl. Les Miles would eat glass, not grass, for a shot at the Buckeyes.

CFP championship

WHEN: Monday, Jan. 11

WHERE: Glendale, Ariz.

AT STAKE: A fourth national title and a chance to atone for that BCS title-game loss to Alabama four years ago. Maybe against Alabama? Don’t even think about it.