LSU holds off Alabama in much-anticipated shootout

Inside how Coach O shrewdly methodically led the LSU football program to this moment

The Tigers should take the No. 1 spot after a 46-41 victory against No. 3 Alabama.

The Tigers would still play in the SEC Championship game, but they would absolutely need to win that game to make the playoff as a one-loss SEC champion.

The LSU Tigers, coming off a huge win over Alabama, remains the top ranked team in the AP polls.

The committee would have to decide between two Power Five conference champions.

Strength of schedule, head‐to‐head competition and championships won must be specifically applied as tie‐breakers between teams that look similar. They have a two-game lead in the West Division with three to go, with their first Rose Bowl bid since 1961 well within reach. That's a question for the committee to tackle on December 8. That's the highest Minnesota has been ranked since 1962, when it peaked at No. 5 in the polls. What is the Gophers' ceiling? K.J. Hamler muffed the punt when a teammate backed into him, and though the Nittany Lions recovered, they were pushed back to their 28-yard line.

Let's say Georgia pulls off a win. Penn State was the first ranked opponent the Gophers had faced all season. The Alabama offense came right back and punched it in again. The Gophers are an Iowa and Northwestern victory away from getting Ohio State or Penn State in the Big Ten Championship Game. Then it's time to talk playoff.

Minnesota running back Rodney Smith vs. Penn State's front seven.

Ahead of their matchup against the undefeated Gophers, Penn State head coach James Franklin joked he had a "man-crush" on Gophers' safety Antoine Winfield Jr.

Worst penalty: John Reid's pass interference penalty on third down in the fourth quarter extended a Minnesota possession and wiped out Penn State's last breath.

Maybe the names and brands of LSU and Alabama prevent us from viewing those mishaps as we would if the names on the front of the jerseys said Michigan State and Northwestern, for example, but this still felt like a high-level game - just one with its fair share of preventable mistakes.

Penn State: QB Sean Clifford. They took down the Nittany Lions with a narrative-altering performance. He had gone over 100 yards rushing three times before Saturday but those were against Southern Miss, Texas A&M and Tennessee, with none of the rushing totals surpassing 115. He's third on the team in tackles and is second in the FBS with five interceptions.



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