No. 1 LSU played in its first college football semifinal on Saturday. No. 4 Oklahoma played in its third straight and fourth in five years.
And yet the Tigers played with the Sooners all over the peach glass. How?
Truth is not always easy to accept. The SEC champion, led by record-setting Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, was looking for the Big 12 champion, 63-28. It was another example of an idea that conspiracy theorists have flown around in the cup tournament series.
Is the SEC bias? No. This was another confirmation of the SEC’s power: a flexibility, as the kids want to say. And Ed Orgeron’s LSU team bends for the SEC, okay.
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LSU has the chance to win the 12th national conference championship since BCS began in 1998. The SEC improved to 6-1 in the Football Playoff semifinal. The conference is 11-5 in league games, and two of those title-game losses came in head-to-head matchups with other SEC teams.
The Tigers now have the chance to win their third national championship since the BCS era, and this comes at a time when Orgeron renovated the offense around offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger and game coordinator Joe Brady: one who collected an FBS -best 554.4 chips per game during the regular season. He was even better at this penultimate stage, setting a record – 692 yards against the Sooners in another beat-style SEC.
This explains why the Tigers were twice as beloved. They have won against the top 10 teams in Texas, Florida, Auburn, Alabama and Georgia in the regular season, Ohio State’s frogging jump in recent college football player rankings – a move that started some of those divergences this fall – leaf.
So LSU came out and broke the doors on the Sooners. It may have been expected, but it was still amazing. Burrow hit 21 of 27 passes for 403 yards and seven touchdowns in the first half, building a 49-14 lead. It finished with 515 total yards (493 passes, 22 rushes) and eight total results.
Justin Jefferson dropped a four-punch Peach stick, part of a game in which he caught 14 passes for 222 yards. The Tigers’ defense helped the stretch that led to Jalen Hurts bottling and his well-documented ability. By the time Thaddeus Moss, son of NFL Hall of Famer Randy Moss, scored with 4:18 remaining in the first half, it was okay to say it out loud:
The conservators got Mossed.
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LSU scored in seven of its eight possessions in the first half. The Tigers ran after halftime, but Burrow added a touchdown run for extra emphasis as LSU entertained Oklahoma in a long 12-way run. Or did a SEC track happen? Whatever it is, LSU is an offshoot of Oklahoma, and will likely win the championship game against Clemson or Ohio State.
But not before another round of conspiracy theories tossed around: The CFP commission took care of the Tigers by putting them in Atlanta. The Playoff was created perfectly for LSU, which will have a virtual game at the home of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. It is a SEC bias from ESPN and the SEC and Pawlllll network. …
No it is not. This is a complete team with a future No. 1 pick in Burrow in the offensive checks. Burrow made over half a million donations to the Athens Food Cellar with Heisman’s speech from the field, and then struck every note to divide the secondary into the field. If the Cincinnati Bengals don’t get this guy, they will regret it for the next decade.
But back to LSU: This is a team playing at a level destined for the Cadillac class of SEC champions that have dominated the BCS and the Playoff seasons. This LSU team is built right now, both on-site and off-site, and that’s just part of the identity of a conference that continues to say, “It just means more.”
How many times must this be confirmed before it is accepted for what it is? It is not prejudice.
Is a reality.