As Tiger Nation celebrates the holidays, a major opportunity waits for LSU football. The undefeated Tigers face Oklahoma in Saturday's Peach Bowl, LSU's inaugural trip to the College Football Playoff. With a win, Ed Orgeron's team will head to New Orleans for the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Jan. 13, playing the winner of Ohio State-Clemson.
To preview the playoffs, The Reveille ran a best-of-five series of computer simulations on ncaagamesim.com for both the Peach and Fiesta bowls. We then took the respective bowls' winners and simulated the championship game.
Here's what the computer said:
Peach Bowl: #1 LSU vs. #4 Oklahoma
Simulation 1: LSU 45, Oklahoma 16
The Tigers are off to a great start. In Peach Bowl simulation No. 1, Clyde Edwards-Helaire led LSU with three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving). Heisman Trophy-winner Joe Burrow added three touchdowns and 375 passing yards. The Tiger defense picked off Jalen Hurts on Oklahoma's first drive while the offense capitalized on field position with a Burrow 16-yard touchdown pass to Ja'Marr Chase. After that, LSU never looked back, cruising to a blowout win.
Simulation 2: LSU 34, Oklahoma 13
Second game, second win for the Tigers. Though not as dominant as the first simulation, Peach Bowl simulation No. 2 had LSU handed the Sooners a convincing defeat. Oklahoma's defense surprisingly held the Tiger offense scoreless through five drives, but Burrow and company responded with two consecutive passing touchdowns. After a Hurts touchdown run in the third quarter, Oklahoma cut LSU's lead to four before the Tigers closed out the game with 17 consecutive points.
Simulation 3: Oklahoma 47, LSU 28
Peach Bowl simulation No. 3 could be remembered as the Jalen Hurts game. The former Alabama quarterback amassed 446 passing yards on 28 attempts and another 224 yards on the ground. Hurts threw for four touchdowns, including three to CeeDee Lamb, and added a one-yard touchdown run. Despite holding a 14-10 lead in the second quarter, LSU's defense could not contain the Sooner passing attack as Oklahoma scored 24 straight points. Burrow's gaudy stats, 25 of 34 passing for 382 yards and four touchdowns, could not save LSU.
Simulation 4: LSU 49, Oklahoma 35
By virtue of LSU's win in Peach Bowl simulation No. 4, the Tigers guaranteed a place in our national championship simulation. This game is what analysts expect, a high-scoring slugfest featuring a pair of the nation's most-explosive offenses. Burrow threw for six touchdowns and ran for another. Justin Jefferson hauled in three touchdowns while Chase caught two, including a 12-yard touchdown to tie the game at 35. Burrow's 8-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter gave LSU the lead for good. Following a Hurts' interception on the subsequent drive, the senior quarterback hit fellow senior Derrick Dillon for a 20-yard touchdown to ice the game.
Series: LSU 3, Oklahoma 1
Fiesta Bowl: #2 Ohio State vs. #3 Clemson
Simulation 1: Ohio State 20, Clemson 14
Simulation 2: Ohio State 38, Clemson 27
Simulation 3: Clemson 31, Ohio State 26
Simulation 4: Ohio State 34, Clemson 31
Series: Ohio State 3, Clemson 1
Ohio State, like LSU, clinched a trip to the national championship in its respective simulation No. 4, winning on a field goal in the game's final seconds.
College Football Playoff National Championship Game: #1 LSU vs. #2 Ohio State
Simulation 1: LSU 38, Ohio State 17
Twelve years after Les Miles' squad defeated Ohio State in New Orleans to win the Tigers' third championship, LSU once again dropped 38 points on the Buckeyes. In our first national championship game simulation, Burrow shook off two first quarter interceptions to torch his former team for 394 passing yards, throwing touchdowns to Chase, Jefferson and Thaddeus Moss. Burrow's defense intercepted Heisman finalist Justin Fields three times and bottled up Ohio State's rushing attack.
Simulation 2: LSU 34, Ohio State 21
With a win in simulation No. 2, Orgeron's Tigers are a victory away from winning the national championship in the Reveille's playoff preview. After an early 14-3 deficit, LSU rallied with 24 consecutive points. Burrow capped off the game with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Chase on the Tigers' final drive. The senior quarterback threw for 390 yards and four touchdowns, while adding 64 rushing yards. Jefferson led LSU's receiving corps with nine catches for 125 yards and a touchdown against Ohio State's secondary headed by All-American cornerback Jeffrey Okudah.
Simulation 3: Ohio State 29, LSU 27
In what was essentially an elimination game, Ohio State nailed a 43-yard game-winning field goal in the closing seconds. LSU raced out to a 21-10 first half lead behind a pair of Burrow touchdown passes. LSU's momentum stalled after a missed Cade York field goal attempt which would have given the Tigers a 24-13 lead. The offense punted on its next three drives. The two teams swapped leads late in the fourth quarter after trading field goals before the Buckeyes finished the game with a grueling 10-play drive culminating in Blake Haubeli's game-winning field goal.
Simulation 4: LSU 40, Ohio State 31
Burrow got his revenge and LSU got its fourth national championship in national championship game simulation No. 4. Burrow completed 32 of his 41 pass attempts for 525 yards and three touchdowns. Chase hauled in 10 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns. Edwards-Helaire topped 100 yards receiving and rushing, adding a score on the ground.
Ohio State started early, leading 10-0 after a 8-yard J.K. Dobbins touchdown rush on the Buckeyes' second drive. The Tigers would score on their next four drives, taking a 20-10 lead into halftime. In the second half, LSU continued its offensive march, scoring on Chase's second touchdown reception and a York field goal on the first two drives following the intermission. Ohio State did not go down without a fight, taking a fourth quarter-lead behind two Master Teague rushing touchdowns. LSU's defense tightened and the offense retook the lead on another York field goal before Edwards-Helaire punctuated the Tigers' victory with a late 12-yard touchdown rush.
Series: LSU 3, Ohio State 1