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UL-Monroe wide receiver Malik Jackson (2) is bottled up by LSU linebacker Micah Baskerville (23), LSU safety Jay Ward (5), LSU linebacker Damone Clark (18) and LSU linebacker Mike Jones Jr. (19) during the second half at Tiger Stadium Saturday Nov. 20, 2021, in Baton Rouge, La. LSU won 27-14.

This is it for the LSU football team.

Saturday night’s Southeastern Conference matchup with No. 14 Texas A&M will be the regular-season finale for LSU and outgoing coach Ed Orgeron, who last month agreed to part ways with the university after the season.

But, will it be the Tigers' final game of the season?

LSU will try to avoid its first losing season since 1999 — before the majority of the players on the current roster were born — and, if successful at that, would become bowl-eligible with its sixth victory.

Yet, a 6-6 record won’t guarantee the Tigers of playing in a bowl game.

There is a difference in becoming bowl-eligible and actually being slotted into one of the 41 bowl games that will be played over a 19-day span starting Dec. 17.

That’s where it gets a little tricky for LSU, whose self-imposed postseason ban last season snapped a 20-year bowl streak for the program.

The SEC already has 11 bowl-eligible teams with LSU and Florida, each with five victories, sitting on the fence. Only Vanderbilt has been eliminated from bowl consideration.

If LSU and Florida both prevail Saturday — UF hosts Florida State — the league could have a record 13 teams participating in the postseason. The SEC put 12 teams in bowls in both 2014 and 2016.

The key word in that last paragraph is "could."

The problem is the SEC has just 10 bowl tie-ins, which means someone could get left at home, although Georgia and Alabama could help out in a big way.

They're first and third, respectively, in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. If both were to make the four-team playoff field, the SEC would have two teams in the semifinals and still have its original 10 bowl spots to fill.

If Georgia or Alabama were to fall out of the top four, it would eat up one of those 10 bowl bids.

There are two other scenarios in which the SEC could get 12 or 13 teams in, but one is unlikely to happen.

The first would be if the other nine conferences can’t fill their allotted bowl spots, which could open the door for the SEC’s overflow — if there is one.

The second scenario would bring teams with 5-7 records into the mix with slots being filled based on the Academic Progress Rating (APR) descending order list. That appears to be a long shot, however.

A total of 73 schools already have at least six wins. That total will increase to 77 with four games matching teams with 5-6 marks this weekend.

The Big 12 may not fill all of its seven spots with only six teams eligible going into this weekend, but West Virginia and TCU could both become bowl-eligible with wins.

TCU is at Iowa State on Friday and West Virginia plays at Kansas on Saturday.

Another interesting scenario among the many bowl projections out there has Big 12 members Oklahoma State, Oklahoma or Baylor possibly securing at-large bids to the Peach and Fiesta bowls.

With one of those three getting into the Sugar Bowl as the Big 12 champion, the other two could go to the Peach and/or Fiesta and open up spots for another conference — like the SEC — to use.

Among the other Power Five conferences, the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 are likely to use all of their allotted bowl bids.

In the Group of Five conferences, there could be an opportunity to pick up bowl spots from the American Athletic Conference. The AAC has seven bowl tie-ins with just five teams eligible going into this week’s games.

But Cincinnati, which climbed to fourth in this week’s CFP rankings, would relinquish one of those spots if it makes the playoffs.

That could create at least one opening, and maybe two or three if one or two of the AAC’s five-win teams — Tulsa and Memphis — were to fall Saturday. Tulsa plays at SMU and Memphis hosts Tulane.

Another question about a possible bowl for LSU is whether the Tigers should play in the postseason in the first place.

There are those who will argue they don't deserve a bowl bid and should let a tough season come to a merciful end on the Tiger Stadium turf Saturday night.

Also, if LSU does get a spot when the bowl pairings are announced Dec. 5, will Orgeron coach the Tigers one more time?

When it was announced that he and the university had a separation agreement in place, Orgeron said he would be the coach if the Tigers made a bowl. His reworked contract, however, shows his final day on the job will be Nov. 30, 2021.

“I'm going to talk to the administration,” Orgeron said Monday when asked about the situation at his weekly news conference. “I don't know what's going to happen. I want to be on the same page.

“I want to leave here and make sure when I do leave, I did the utmost I could for the LSU Tigers. If we do go to a bowl, I need to talk to the administration. We need to have a conversation to see what's best for the football team.”

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SEC bowl tie-ins

All Times Central

Gasparilla Bowl

Tampa, Fla./Dec. 23, 2021

SEC vs. TBD, 6 p.m. (ESPN)

Birmingham Bowl

Birmingham, Ala./Dec. 28, 2021

SEC vs. AAC, 11 a.m. (ESPN)

Liberty Bowl

Memphis, Tenn./Dec. 28, 2021

SEC vs. Big 12, 5:45 p.m. (ESPN)

Duke's Mayo Bowl

Charlotte, N.C./Dec. 30, 2021

SEC vs. Big 12, 10:30 a.m. (ESPN)

Music City Bowl

Nashville, Tenn./Dec. 30, 2021

SEC vs. Big Ten, 2 p.m. (ESPN)

Gator Bowl

Jacksonville, Fla./Dec. 31, 2021

SEC vs. ACC, 10 a.m. (ESPN)

Outback Bowl

Tampa, Fla./Jan. 1, 2022

SEC vs. Big Ten, 11 a.m. (ESPN2)

Citrus Bowl

Orlando, Fla./Jan. 1, 2022

SEC vs. Big Ten, Noon (ABC)

Sugar Bowl

New Orleans/Jan. 1, 2022

SEC vs. Big 12, 7:45 p.m. (ESPN)

Texas Bowl

Houston, Texas/Jan. 4, 2022

SEC vs. Big 12, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Email Sheldon Mickles at smickles@theadvocate.com