February 18, 2018

Leatherheads National Playoffs: Semi-Finals

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.

Participating voters: David Boyce, Bo Carter, Terry Keshner, Bob Lazzari, Dan McCloskey, Tex Noel, Pete Sonski, Bob Swick, Joe Williams.


  1. Good to see that our “participants” know their football more than those who can only hope to have it right.

    Great jobs voters!

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