College Football Playoff: Why LSU deserves to be No. 1 over Ohio State in the CFP Rankings

ATLANTA -- Move over No. 1 Ohio State, LSU is coming. The No. 2 Tigers easily throttled No. 4 Georgia 37-10 in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday to cap an unblemished regular season and punch their ticket to the College Football Playoff. When they get there, the No. 1 should accompany their name.

Why? It has the most complete case in all of college football.

The resume? They've got that. The Tigers have wins over No. 8 Florida, No. 11 Auburn and No. 12 Alabama in addition to Saturday's win over the Bulldogs. All of those could be Top 10 wins when the final rankings come out, and the wins over Alabama on the road and Georgia in a conference title game, are the two best wins in the country by any team.

Can No. 1 Ohio State boast that? Nope, although its resume is rather strong. How about No. 3 Clemson? Not even close. It has been feasting on cupcakes like it's a 6-year-old's birthday for 13 straight games.

The Tigers have the two best wins in college football -- the road win over the then-No. 3 Crimson Tide and a thorough dismantling of the fourth-ranked team in college football with a conference championship at stake. That matters, especially since Ohio State sputtered through the first two-plus quarters before pulling away from the Badgers in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday.

The eye test? Yep, LSU has that too. Quarterback Joe Burrow tossed four touchdowns and racked up 349 yards to lead an offensive explosion that put 37 points on the scoreboard -- 17 more than Georgia had given up in any game this season. Perhaps what's even more impressive is that everybody in the building knows what's coming and can't stop it. Georgia coach Kirby Smart said prior to the SEC Championship Game that there's nothing really creative with what LSU does, but that the scheme always creates at least one mismatch that Burrow consistently exploits.


Ohio State LSU
Record 13-0 13-0
CFP Top 25 wins 5 4
Points per game 48.7 47.8
Yards per game 531 554.4
Opponents points per game 12.5 21.2

The defense was a sore spot early, but is clicking on all cylinders now. The Tigers have given up less than 4.3 yards per play in three straight games, including on Saturday when Georgia averaged 4.2. They held Georgia -- one of the better rushing teams in the country -- to just 2.4 yards per carry. Georgia's leading rusher, Brian Herrien, had just 24 yards. LSU made its statement.

"This game kind of proved the point because a lot of people, they didn't really respect us, but we came out and played and showed everybody what we're made of," said freshman cornerback Derek Stingley, who intercepted Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm twice in the win.

LSU has had a target on its back for two months, and that target got as big as Tiger Stadium once it toppled the Crimson Tide in early November. It didn't matter. LSU just kept throwing haymaker after haymaker like the heavyweight champion that it is.

"I think we're a darn good football team," Tigers coach Ed Orgeron said after the game.

He's right, but that's still an understatement. LSU is the best darn football team in the country, and the selection committee should recognize its greatness. Perhaps more importantly, it should reward the Tigers by not setting them up with a semifinal matchup vs. No. 3 Clemson.

College Football Writer

Barrett Sallee has been a member of the sports media in various aspects since 2001. He is currently a college football writer for CBS Sports, analyst for CBS Sports HQ and host for the SiriusXM college... Full Bio

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