The Leatherheads National Playoffs are our mythical national championship tournament in which our regular pollsters pick the winners of a bracket consisting of the teams in our final top 16. Each pollster is allocated a fixed number of votes to spread across all the games, thus allowing them to place a heavier weight on the winners they have more confidence in.
This week, we’re down to the final four teams playing for a berth in the Leatherheads National Championship.
#1 LSU 31, #5 Oregon 24
LSU’s defense proves good enough to overcome three first-half turnovers that lead to a pair of rushing touchdowns by LaMichael James. Oregon looks poised for the upset early, as their highly regarded offense–led by James and quarterback Darron Thomas–capitalizes on LSU’s mistakes to take a 17-7 halftime lead.
However, the second half is a completely different story. The Bayou Tigers prove more battle-tested in the final 30 minutes, as they accomplish something very few teams are capable of: shutting down the vaunted Oregon offense and outscoring them 24-7 after the intermission.
Running backs Spencer Ware and Michael Ford lead the way, racking up 205 yards on the ground to propel LSU to a berth in the finals.
#3 Oklahoma State 23, #2 Alabama 20
Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden has unrivaled success against the Alabama defense, throwing for 345 yards, but the Tide plays the bend-but-don’t-break game as Weeden’s only able to get his offense into the end zone once during the game’s first 59 minutes.
Trailing 20-16 with just under a minute to play, the Cowboys are facing a fourth-and-inches at midfield. It’s at that point Mike Gundy decides to pull out his bag of tricks. Weeden play-fakes to running back Joseph Randle, rolls right and hits wide-out Justin Blackmon for a 50-yard score, the upset victory and a trip to the Leatherheads National Championship.
Check back next weekend as the first Leatherheads National Championship pits #3 Oklahoma State against #1 LSU.