By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer
The regular season is over, and all across the map, not a creature was stirring, not even a wildcat. Not a Bear, either. After the loss to Oklahoma, Baylor has been relegated to the Sugar Bowl to face No. 5 Georgia.
Everyone speculated for a week about what would have to happen for Baylor to get in the College Football Playoff, or for what kind of chaos would have to ensue to make the weekend fun. Neither happened, as the weekend was just about as predictable as college football could be.
No. 1 Ohio State beat No. 8 Wisconsin. No. 2 LSU beat No. 4 Georgia. No. 3 Clemson beat No. 23 Virginia for their first ranked win of the season. No. 6 Oklahoma beat No. 7 Baylor. The only upset was Oregon over Utah, but most people thought there was a healthy chance of that happening.
The only question for the committee was what school to put No. 1, and at 11 a.m. Sunday, it was announced they’d go with the Bayou Bengals. I have fully endorsed LSU for the No. 1 spot for most of the season. They four top-13 wins, including a win at Alabama while Tua Tagovailoa was healthy.
The Buckeyes had an argument: they’ve stomped every team by at least 10 points this season. They were, however, tested Saturday night. Down 21-7 at the half, the college football world wondered whether their run was a fluke.
Ohio State handled Wisconsin in the second half of that game, but it proved the team wasn’t infallible, opening the hole for the Tigers to sneak through.
The other Tigers, Clemson, are now on a 28-game win streak that features a national title and another berth in the Final Four. Trevor Lawrence and his squad will take on the Buckeyes in Arizona for the chance to move onto the championship game.
Jalen Hurts and Oklahoma also climbed their way into the playoff, and now have the chance to knock off LSU from their undefeated perch. It won’t happen. They almost lost twice to Baylor.
So I assume LSU and Ohio State will play in the championship game. It will come down to whether the Buckeyes’ vaunted defensive backs can defend LSU’s high-powered passing attack. Give me the Tigers for their third national championship this century.
For Baylor and Georgia, it’s reminiscent of Texas’ game against the Bulldogs in last year’s Sugar Bowl. If Georgia decides to show up, the Bears will get killed. If they don’t, Baylor can stand up to them and take home the win like the Longhorns did last year when they declared themselves “back.” Give me Baylor by a field goal.