College Football Playoff tracker: LSU makes its case for No. 1

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GRAPEVINE, Texas — Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens, who is also the chairman of the College Football Playoff selection committee, is here at the Gaylord Texan Resort, not the Pac-12 championship game, where his two-loss Ducks had a chance to win the league — and simultaneously eliminate it from the CFP with a win over No. 5 Utah.

Selection committee member Joe Castiglione, who is the athletic director at Oklahoma, is also here instead of watching his Sooners in the Big 12 conference championship game in nearby Arlington, Texas. All 13 committee members checked in by 4 p.m. CT on Friday to meet, have dinner and then watch the Pac-12 title game together.

While the Pac-12 and Big 12 have generated the most discussion this week because they are jockeying for the fourth spot, every Power 5 championship game will influence the committee’s final votes on Selection Day.

The playoff tracker is your one-stop shop for how each result will impact the committee’s decision, and it will be updated as soon as each game ends:


No. 13 Oregon 37, No. 5 Utah 15

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2:03

CJ Verdell runs for 208 yards and three touchdowns as Oregon wins 37-15 to secure its spot in the Rose Bowl.

On a night when the Pac-12 had the selection committee’s undivided attention as the only game being played, No. 5 Utah flopped in fantastic fashion, as two-loss Oregon thoroughly outplayed the Utes en route to winning the conference championship.

Utah’s loss crushed the Pac-12’s playoff hopes, but it was exactly what the Big 12 needed. The winner of Saturday’s game between Oklahoma and Baylor will be in prime position to finish in the fourth spot — assuming No. 2 LSU knocks No. 4 Georgia out of it. If Georgia loses, the Allstate Playoff Predictor gives Oklahoma a 70% chance to make the playoff with a Big 12 title, and Baylor a 59% chance with a win.

What we’re watching on Saturday


No. 6 Oklahoma 30, No. 7 Baylor 23 (OT)

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2:16

After a thrilling four quarters, Oklahoma seals the game with stifling defense in overtime to defeat Baylor 30-23 and win its second consecutive Big 12 championship.

It wasn’t exactly winning with style, but with Oklahoma’s overtime win against Baylor — the second time this season the Sooners defeated the Bears — determining the top four should be extremely easy for the committee. If LSU beats No. 4 Georgia to open the final spot, the Big 12 champs should slide right in with little debate, as the Sooners just added another top-10 win and conference title to their résumé.

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