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College Football Playoff's chance could come down to a beauty contest for Utah

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Joe Burrow was never good enough to start in the state of Ohio, but the Louisiana quarterback could complete his college career by meeting the Buckeyes for the national championship.

As that scenario develops, William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said, "I love Ohio State above LSU on a neutral field with 2½ to 3 points."

Of course a lot can change before the national championship of January.

From now on, the four-team College Football Playoff bracket appears to be 50% complete with LSU and Ohio State in ink, while four teams fight for the other two spots.

Clemson, the other remaining undefeated team, is number 3 and is a 28.5 point favorite over Virginia in the Atlantic Coast Conference title match. Bruce Marshall, editor of the Gold Sheet handicap site, said he was sufficiently impressed by Clemson, who won the past two ACC championships with 32 and 35 points, to give the Cavaliers even more than four touchdowns.

"It's a lot of points, but I love Clemson," said Marshall. "Dabo (Swinney) is doing everything to make a fire among his team and now it is the routine of the US against the world."

The fourth and final place is a real debate. Nr. 1 LSU is a favorite with seven points compared to No. 4 Georgia in Atlanta. If the Bulldogs win, they are supposed to be inside and there would be no chaos. A victory by LSU would open the door for No. 5 Beat Utah as the Utes Oregon for the Pac-12 title, or for the Oklahoma-Baylor winner in the Big 12.

"If Georgia loses, I think the Big 12 will be there," said Bogdanovich. “If they win, Oklahoma will definitely enter Utah. I think Utah is going to get the shaft. & # 39;

Arguments for Utah being a worthy play-off team will be made throughout the week, but the Utes have to win again before that debate matters, and coach Kyle Whittingham probably knows that his team should pile up style points and Oregon with double digits must beat Friday night at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara.

The Utes are stuck with a loss of 30-23 at USC in September on their resume. So Utah not only has to win the Pac-12 championship game, it has to win impressively to have a realistic playoff shot.

Ten of the 11 Utes victories were double digits. Utah is a 6.5 point favorite above the ducks, which are for the first time since their season opening with 27-21 loss to Auburn on a neutral field underdogs.

The Big 12 title game in Arlington, Texas, is a rematch on November 16, when Oklahoma recovered from a 28-3 deficit to overwhelm Baylor, 34-31. The Sooners were 10.5-point favorites in Waco, and they are a nine-point favorite on Saturday.

The Sooners are 5-7 against the spread (ATS), including 2-6 in the last eight games, so they have not processed the most inflated point spreads. The Big 12 winner must also impress the committee to sneak into the playoff field.

The Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis is another rematch. Ohio State is a favorite of 16.5 points over Wisconsin, after the Buckeyes defeated the Badgers 38-7 at the end of October.

In the SEC title game there is no reason to think that top-level LSU will blow off the gas.

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow

(Sean Gardner / Getty Images)

Burrow, who left the state of Ohio two years ago, is trying to win the Heisman trophy. This season he passed 4,366 yards and 44 touchdowns. The game makes it an open attack on Burrow and LSU against the elite defense of Georgia. Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart has the number 2 defense of the country (10.4 points per game) and the 15th ranking of the pass defense.

"LSU should definitely not be a touchdown favorite against Georgia," said Westgate SuperBook director John Murray. "Thats crazy."

The gambling market does not agree with this. The Tigers, double-digit favorites in 10 of 12 games, opened -6 and the line was quickly used one point.

Matt Youmans writes for VSiN.com and appears on "The Edge" on weekday evenings from 10 pm – midnight on SiriusXM 204, TuneIn and VSiN.com.

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