The wait is over - The College Football Playoff is officially here!
The first CFP Semifinal matchup takes place on Saturday afternoon when the top-seeded LSU Tigers take on the Oklahoma Sooners at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in New Orleans.
#1 LSU Tigers (-13.5) @ #4 Oklahoma Sooners, 4:00 PM:
- LSU has a 6-8 ATS record after a win as the home team since 2018.
- The Tigers have a 16-10 O/U record since 2018.
- LSU has a 42-6 W/L record as home favorites since 2013. (Stats courtesy of Statschecker).
#1 LSU (13-0) capped off their undefeated regular season with a dominant SEC Championship win over the Georgia Bulldogs 37-10.
The Tigers have been battle-tested throughout the regular season, winning all five matchups against AP Top-10 opponents (#9 Texas, #7 Florida, #9 Auburn, #3 Alabama and #4 Georgia).
Heisman trophy winner Joe Burrow had an unforgettable senior season setting an SEC record for passing touchdowns (44), passing yards (4,715), and completion percentage (77.9%).
Burrow ranks second in the nation in passing yards, first in completion percentage and first in touchdowns.
Sophomore wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase has been Burrow’s number one target, totaling the most receiving touchdowns in the nation (18) with the second most receiving yards (1,498).
Junior wide receiver Justin Jefferson has been just as good, catching the eighth most passes in the FBS (88) for the ninth most yards (1,207) and fourth most touchdowns (14).
#4 Oklahoma (12-1) salvaged their season after a bad loss to unranked Kansas State by winning out the final five games of the season, including a 30-23 win over the #7 Baylor Bears.
The Sooners took down four ranked opponents this season (Baylor twice, #11 Texas and #21 Oklahoma State).
Senior transfer quarterback Jalen Hurts had a strong campaign in his final season, ranking 10th in the nation in passing yards (3,634) and 11th in passing touchdowns (32).
Hurts had his dual threat abilities on full display as well, finishing with 1,255 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns.
Junior wide receiver CeeDee Lamb added a huge season of his own, totaling the eighth most receiving yards in the nation (1,208) and the fourth most receiving touchdowns (14).
My pick is Oklahoma to cover the spread (+13.5) and the OVER Total of 76 points.
These teams have two of the top six offenses in the FBS - the Tigers scored the third most points per game (47.8 ppg) and the Sooners had the sixth (43.2 ppg).
The biggest injury news entering the Peach Bowl is the possibility of LSU being without starting junior running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who is battling a hamstring injury
Edwards-Helaire has given the offense balance by being the ground-and-pound workhorse, totaling the 17th most rushing yards in the nation (1,290) for the 11th most rushing touchdowns (16) and averaged 6.5 yards per carry which is 16th best in the FBS.
If Edwards-Helaire doesn’t suit up, Burrow will be inclined to air the ball out to his stellar receivers Chase and Jefferson.
Although that may seem to play into LSU’s advantage, I’m anticipating that style of play working in favor of Oklahoma with Hurts under center.
This game will be a high-scoring battle between t
he Heisman trophy winner and a former National Champion.
Two touchdowns is too large of a spread for me to see LSU covering in the CFP.
Expect Hurts’ experience to play a factor and keep this game close but the Tigers will pull away late behind Burrow.