Sometimes, final scores can be quite misleading. LSU 23, South Carolina 21 is a good example.
Never mind the small deficit. LSU dominated the Gamecocks for four quarters. This was the Tigers team we're all used to. And with that loss by No. 3 South Carolina, as well as a loss by No. 6 West Virginia, there's another major shakeup in the national title picture right before the initial BCS standings are released Sunday.
The yardage tells a better story than the final score, which was close because of some LSU mistakes and some conservative play-calling by the Tigers. LSU had 407 yards, South Carolina could muster only 211, and 110 of those yards came on its final two drives after the Tigers took a 23-14 lead. LSU's defense was that good.
So was the offense, thanks to Jeremy Hill's emergence. Hill, a freshman running back who had three carries for 10 yards in LSU's three games before Saturday, got a long look against South Carolina. The Tigers didn't have much to lose after their offense sputtered in a loss at Florida.
Hill was the spark LSU needed. He has power at 235 pounds and also showed off his speed on a 50-yard run that gave the Tigers their late 9-point lead. He finished with 123 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.
The SEC's parity will affect the national title picture all year. Georgia looked great before going to South Carolina. The Gamecocks became the hot team in the SEC after that, and then they were thoroughly outplayed at LSU. Even Alabama, as tough as it seems to believe, has some potential losses left on its schedule.
After the Tigers' resurgence on Saturday, it once again looks like Alabama at LSU on Nov. 3 will be the toughest of the Crimson Tide's remaining tests.