As imperfect as the modern-day bowl and playoff system might be, consider the situation 50 years ago.
Louisiana State, Texas and Arkansas — all of them top-10 teams — each would need a win Saturday to guarantee a bowl berth. At least one of those teams — either LSU or the Texas-Arkansas loser — was certain to stay home for the holidays.
In a nutshell: Three deserving teams, but just two remaining bowl slots.
LSU coach Charlie McClendon said Thursday that the must-win situation was a motivator for his Tigers. A win over Archie Manning and Ole Miss would mean an Orange Bowl date with Nebraska. The Texas-Arkansas winner would wrap up a Cotton Bowl berth opposite Notre Dame.
The Lincoln Star’s Hal Brown commented on the absurdity of it all. ABC-TV had “waved money” at the schools to have Texas-Arkansas and LSU-Ole Miss moved from October to early December. Had the two games been played when originally scheduled, Brown surmised, no top-tier team would have been locked out of a bowl.