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Atlanta (CNN)The College Football Playoff field could be set — unofficially at least. And quarterback Joe Burrow had what might be his signature Heisman moment.
LSU, No. 2 in the College Football Playoff ranking, has won the SEC championship, defeating No. 4 Georgia 37-10 in Atlanta on Saturday. That likely ends any playoff chance for the Bulldogs, falling to 11-2.
In turn, that result bolsters the hopes of No. 6 Oklahoma’s, which survived No. 7 Baylor 30-23 in overtime to win the Big 12 championship game earlier in the day. The Sooners, with their fifth consecutive conference title, are seeking their third College Football Playoff berth in a row.Win or lose, LSU (13-0) appeared locked in for a playoff spot no matter the result in Atlanta. With their performance Saturday, the Tigers strengthened their claim that they’re the top team in the country, jumping out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and not looking back.
Burrow also showed why he’s the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, throwing for 349 yards and four touchdowns. The play that fans — and Heisman voters — likely will remember came in the third quarter, when Burrow avoided multiple defenders and launched a perfect pass to Justin Jefferson for 71 yards.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) 7 December 2019
Late in the fourth quarter, “Joe for Heisman” chants could be heard inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Burrow graduated in three years from Ohio State. But he didn’t get a lot of playing time when he was with the Buckeyes, so he transferred to LSU in 2018. He has flourished since, especially this season.
Heading into Saturday, Burrow’s completion percentage was at 78.3 for 2019. That’s on pace to break the NCAA record set by Texas quarterback Colt McCoy (76.7) in 2008.
The Tigers now will wait for the results of the Big Ten and ACC championship games to see if they can move up to the coveted No. 1 spot.
In Indianapolis, No. 1 Ohio State (12-0) is a solid favorite against No. 8 Wisconsin (10-2) in the Big Ten title game, as the Buckeyes already beat the Badgers 38-7 in the regular season. No. 3 Clemson (12-0), the defending national champion, is heavily favored against No. 23 Virginia (9-3) in the ACC title game in Charlotte, North Carolina.Entering Saturday, the College Football Playoff picture hinged on Georgia, in the SEC championship game for the third year in a row. Win the SEC title, and the Bulldogs would be in. Lose, and the door could open for the Big 12 champion.
The Sooners first got a boost Friday, when No. 5 Utah lost 37-15 to No. 13 Oregon in the Pac-12 title game in Santa Clara, California.
In the win against Baylor, Sooners quarterback Jalen Hurts, who had spent the previous three seasons at Alabama before transferring to Oklahoma, completed 17 of 24 passes for 287 yards and one touchdown.
When he was with the Crimson Tide, Hurts played in six College Football Playoff games, starting four, and winning the national title in 2017.
“I hope the story ain’t over,” Hurts said to ABC.Baylor, which two years ago had a record of 1-11, drops to 11-2 on the season. Both losses are to Oklahoma.
Prior to Friday’s loss, Utah (11-2) hoped for a playoff bid or a spot in the Rose Bowl. Instead, after a game that was mostly one-sided in Oregon’s favor, the Utes left with neither. They may fall all the way down to the Alamo Bowl.
The Pac-12 hasn’t had a playoff team since 2016, when Washington lost to Alabama in the Peach Bowl.
The updated rankings will be announced Sunday. ESPN will air the College Football Playoff Selection Show from noon to 4 p.m. ET.
The College Football Playoff has been around since the 2014 season, replacing the Bowl Championship Series. The playoff teams are selected by a 13-person committee, which ranks teams based on performance, strength of schedule, conference championships won, head-to-head results and comparing results against common opponents.
The winner of the playoff determines the national champion at the top level of college football.
The semifinals will be held December 28 at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The national championship game is January 13 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.