LSU reigns in SEC

Posted 11/12/19

The LSU Tigers shot to the top of the College Football Playoff rankings with a 46-41 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide in what was billed as the best college football matchup of the regular season.

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LSU reigns in SEC

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The LSU Tigers shot to the top of the College Football Playoff rankings with a 46-41 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide in what was billed as the best college football matchup of the regular season.

The difference for LSU in 2019 is simple: they found a quarterback. Joe Burrow strengthened his Heisman hopes with a stellar performance in Tuscaloosa, recording 393 yards and three touchdown passes.

Not to be outdone, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa threw for over 400 yards and four touchdowns in a comeback attempt that fell short. It was Alabama’s running back, however, who ultimately stole the show for the Tide offense.

Despite the loss, Alabama’s Najee Harris ran for 146 yards on just 19 carries (7.7 yards per attempt) and scored a touchdown. Clyde Edwards-Helaire of the Tigers also surpassed the century mark in yards and added three touchdowns for LSU.

The matchup is a far cry from the classic 9-6 and 6-3 thrillers the two teams have played over the last decade or so.

The win is monumental for the LSU football program, which has always enjoyed tremendous success while falling short of Alabama in the SEC West. The Tigers are now the team to beat in college football while the Tide’s playoff chances hang severely in the balance.

Since LSU will go on to represent the West in the SEC Championship, Alabama will have just three regular season matchups to pad their resume. These matchups come against Mississippi State, Western Carolina and Auburn (13). LSU is the only team on Alabama’s entire schedule that is currently ranked.

Alabama’s best hope at this point is chaos.

It is always difficult to judge how a playoff field should be selected when there are so little spots to be awarded. Whenever the choice is made by individuals instead of a set system, there will be other individuals who disagree.

A logical person could be baffled when told by a committee that Alabama is not one of the top four teams in college football. The simple truth is that they are always one of the top two or three teams in the country and, as long as Nick Saban calls the shots, always will be.

But the committee has to look at a complete body of work based on matchups and performances this season. While still the class of college football, the SEC is not as dominant top-to-bottom as they have been in past years. The Tide had one matchup against a team that was on their level this year and lost it at home.

The simple solution would be to expand the College Football Playoffs to eight teams, which will likely happen before too long. Four is simply not enough as too many championship-caliber teams get left out in the cold.

But the arguments over certain teams getting snubbed will continue no matter how many teams are allowed in the playoff field.

In professional football, the Dallas Cowboys dropped a critical home game to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night by a score of 28-24. The loss drops Dallas to 5-4 with a tiebreaker advantage over the Philadelphia Eagles for first place in the NFC East.

Dak Prescott flirted with 400 yards and tossed three touchdowns while Minnesota focused on stopping Ezekiel Elliot. They succeeded.

Zeke ran for just 47 yards on 20 carries, leaving Dallas one-dimensional throughout the night. Amari Cooper compensated to the best of his abilities with 147 receiving yards and an impressive touchdown.

Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook gained 183 total yards and set the tone for the Vikings offense. The Vikes are now 7-3 and one game behind the Packers in the NFC North.

Dallas may hold the tiebreaker over Philly for the time being, but Sunday’s letdown could prove costly for the Cowboys moving forward. The Eagles appear to have the easier schedule after the next two weeks, in which they battle the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks.

Dallas will finish the year with matchups against the Detroit Lions, Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Rams, Eagles and Washington.

While the Houston Texans enjoyed their bye week, they were assisted in their pursuit of a division title by the lowly Miami Dolphins. The 2-7 Dolphins picked up their second straight win on Sunday with a 17-12 win over the Indianapolis Colts, who were without the services of quarterback Jacoby Brissett.

The Texans (6-3) now lead the Colts by a game in the AFC South. The Tennessee Titans got back into the mix as well with an upset victory over Pat Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs at home.

Houston will be tested immensely in their first three games back from the bye against Lamar Jackson and the sizzling Baltimore Ravens, Colts and Patriots.

Jackson became the only quarterback to solve Bill Belichick’s defense in 2019 with a 37-20 victory over New England in week nine. With another dominant performance against the winless Cincinnati Bengals, Jackson has emerged as an MVP candidate.

New England (8-1) was the last remaining undefeated team in the AFC. They remain a game ahead of the Ravens (7-2) in the race for the one seed.

The San Francisco 49ers were the last remaining team in the NFC before they dropped a 27-24 overtime thriller to the Seahawks on Monday Night Football. The Niners (8-1) now hold a slim half game lead over Seattle (8-2) in the NFC West.

As it currently stands, the Niners still hold the top seed in the NFC playoff picture. They are followed by the Green Bay Packers (8-2) and New Orleans Saints (7-2).

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