The semifinal match-ups of the College Football Playoff are in the books… and boy oh boy, did they live up to the hype.
On one side, you had a young man put together one of the best QB performances - not just of the season - but of all time.
And on the other side, you had perhaps one of the sports’ historically best all-around teams - yet one too often forgotten throughout the season - reassert themselves as a giant in the college football landscape.
It all set up one of the most highly-anticipated finales in recent memory - but before we get to that, let’s recap a few things from this weekend...
Joe Burrow’s historic day leads LSU past Oklahoma
The number one story from this weekend was Heisman winner Joe Burrow, who put together the game of his life against Oklahoma under the lights of Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
29-39, 493 yards, and seven passing touchdowns (which you can find definitively ranked here) - along with one more rushing touchdown, just for kicks I suppose - en route to LSU’s absolutely dominant 63-28 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners. Somehow, even that score doesn’t tell the whole story of just how one-sided this contest was - especially considering the score was 49-14 by halftime. Mercy.
NFL teams high in the draft are no doubt salivating over the prospect of calling Burrow’s name this April - but before that, he’ll have one more test to pass before he raises college football’s greatest trophy...
Clemson beats OSU in a thriller to silence critics
Early on in this game, the season’s larger narrative seemed to be falling into place: Clemson, a team largely untested by a weak ACC schedule, would fall hard to an Ohio State team that seemed to be without weakness. The score, after all, stood at 16-0 midway through the second half - and the defending champions seemed to have no answer for the Big Ten’s best.
But even as the Tigers found themselves behind, a few things were swinging their way.
First, Ohio State stalled on three red zone trips - exemplifying Clemson’s staunch defense in this part of the field. Then (perhaps as a result), Ohio State slowed down their offense to opt for more systematic execution over the breakneck pace that seemed to give the Tigers issues through the first quarter and a half.
Whatever the reason, everything seemed to slow down for Trevor Lawrence and this offense (even after a nasty hit nearly took Lawrence out of the game), and Clemson got to work.
Between the 7:20 mark of the second quarter all the way to the start of the fourth, the Tigers went on a 21-0 nothing run.
During the broadcast, it was noted that when Clemson wins the scoring battle during this period of the game, they’re 45-1. That, ultimately, held true on Saturday night - as the Tigers silenced their critics and earned a spot in the College Football Playoff Championship for the fourth time in five years.
We’re about to see one heck of a finale
As we approach the final game of the college football season, it’s hard to imagine a better match-up than the game we’re about to get between Clemson and LSU.
Two of the country’s best offenses, led by the country’s two best quarterbacks, playing for two of the sports’ best programs… what else could you ask for?
We’ll have our complete preview for you in just a few weeks, but until then, have a safe and happy New Year’s celebration - and get excited for an excellent finish to the college football season...