Saturday’s college football action had the chance to make things very interesting for the selection committee as to who gets into the four-team playoff. However, the choices in front of them seem pretty cut and dry now.
Starting in the Big 12
The first major conference championship of the day was for the Big 12, and it was hands down the most exciting finish of the day. Rhamondre Stevenson’s five-yard touchdown run in overtime put Oklahoma ahead of Baylor 30-23. The defense then held the Bears in check to win their fifth Big 12 title in a row.
For the Sooners, quarterback and Heisman hopeful Jalen Hurts threw for 287 yards and a touchdown. He formed a great connection with wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, who caught eight passes for a game-high 173 yards.
Oklahoma, who entered the game at No. 6 in the rankings, caught a big break on Friday night when No. 5 Utah lost to Oregon in the PAC 12 championship. With Utah out of the Playoff picture, the 12-1 Sooners needed a loss by Georgia to have a chance to get into the Playoff.
Moving to SEC
That now leads to the SEC Championship, where Oklahoma owes a huge thank you to LSU. No. 2 LSU pummeled No. 4 Georgia 37-10 in Atlanta behind a four-touchdown game from QB and Heisman favorite Joe Burrow.
LSU dominated the game from the start, as the closest Georgia ever got was 11 points down early in the second quarter. The Tigers were a force on defense, pressuring Georgia QB Jake Fromm into two interceptions and recording three sacks. On offense, Justin Jefferson had 115 receiving yards and a touchdown while Terrace Marshall Jr. found the end zone twice.
The Tiger’s victory moves them to a perfect 13-0, and likely pushes them back to the No. 1 seed. Meanwhile, a 27-point loss may be enough for the Bulldogs to drop out of the Playoff in favor of Oklahoma, a team with a better record who just won their conference championship.
There were two other significant conference championships with Playoff implications, but the favorites took care of business in both. First in Charlotte, No. 3 Clemson walloped Virginia 62-17 in the ACC Championship. Trevor Lawrence threw for 302 yards with four touchdowns, as the 13-0 Tigers overcame a sluggish first quarter to dominate the Cavaliers and solidify their spot in the Playoff.
Big Ten Back in
Finally in Indianapolis, No. 1 Ohio State got a scare against No. 8 Wisconsin, trailing 21-7 at halftime. But the 13-0 Buckeyes tightened up, allowing the Badgers just 163 second-half yards, 83 of which came on their final drive. QB Justin Fields was great, throwing for 299 yards with three touchdowns, while J.K. Dobbins ran for 172 yards with a score.
The 1 and 4 seeds; LSU and Oklahoma will play at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta for the Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. The No. 2 – Ohio State Buckeyes and No. 3 Clemson Tigers seeds will play at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl for the second semifinal. Both games would be played on Saturday December 28th.