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What LSU's victory means for the Tigers and the college football playoff

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Saturday was one of the seemingly endless "game of the year" candidates we have in college football at least once every two weeks. For once, however, LSU-Alabama lived up to the hype. The Tigers pulled off a 46-41 victory over the Crimson Tide.

The game had everything. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow cemented his Heisman campaign with a 31 of 39 passing effort for 309 yards and three touchdowns. After a slow start, Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa rallied the Tide from a 33-13 halftime deficit with a 418-yard, four touchdown passing performance of his own.

There were big defensive plays among all the offense. There was a punt return touchdown. Both running backs - LSU's Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Alabama's Nejee Harris - made huge plays in the running and passing game. It was college football at its best.

It was also a major win for an LSU program that had scored a whopping 10 points in its last three games against Alabama. The Tigers shattered that on Saturday night. The bigger question is what does it mean for LSU moving forward?

A Heisman for Burrow?

Joe Burrow's performance might have earned him a Heisman trophy. Besides his excellent passing effort, he rushed for 64 yards on 14 carries, including a clinching first down late in the game. The moment was never too big for him, and he was at his best on the biggest stage. His numbers are phenomenal. He has completed almost 80 percent of his passes for 3,198 yards, 33 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Against Top 25 opponents, he has 11 touchdowns against just two interceptions. In the SEC, he has 17 touchdowns and just one interception.

Barring a collapse, here is your Heisman winner.

Playoff resume

The Tigers have four wins against teams that were in the Top 10 when they played them - Texas, Auburn, Florida and Alabama. There is no team in the country with a better resume. While they might not be the best team - Ohio State has a case for that as well - they have the most impressive body of work. And while you can debate who is No. 1 or 2, what you can't debate is that even if they lose a game, the Tigers are going to the playoffs.

What lies ahead

Next up is Mississippi, which is a decent team. LSU could easily have a letdown after Saturday's huge win, especially considering the injuries that piled up against Alabama. This could be their toughest test before the championship game. Ole Miss pushed Auburn and A&M, and won't be a pushover. LSU is better than those schools, but don't be surprised if this one is tougher than it looks on paper.

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After that is Arkansas, which is one of the worst teams in a Power Five conference and LSU could win this one with backups.

Finally, a rematch of a classic

The last regular season game is against Texas A&M, which is a solid program that has not been able to get over the top against highly ranked teams this year. Ordinarily this might be a game that LSU might overlook, but after last year's Aggie victory, LSU will come into this prepared off an easy game.

On to the championship - and the impact

Assuming the Tigers win two of the three, they will get Georgia in the championship game. Here is the bottom line: If LSU wins its next three, it will be in the playoff even with a loss to Georgia. A one-loss LSU will have a better resume than any team in the country. One loss Oklahoma? One loss Oregon? None of those teams would measure up. Ideally, winning out and completing an undefeated season is the obvious goal, but the win over Alabama allows for a little wiggle room. Even a loss to A&M or Ole Miss would be meaningless if the Tigers beat Georgia for the title.

That makes the playoff picture a little more clear.

Ohio State and Clemson look like they have two of the playoff spots locked up; it's unlikely either loses down the stretch. If LSU finishes with one or no losses, they have the other spot. Which leaves one spot for Georgia (wins out with a win over LSU), Oklahoma or Baylor, Oregon or Utah, and yes, still Alabama, who is by no means out. Anything beyond that seems unlikely. Minnesota is unbeaten but will have to play Ohio State. Penn State's loss on Saturday likely eliminates them, but an unlikely win over Ohio State in two weeks could conceivably get them back in the mix. That does not seem likely.

Realistically, it will be LSU, Ohio State, Clemson and a player to be named. Ohio State still has some challenges, but they have trucked everyone and look like they will win out. If they do, that takes Penn State and Minnesota out of the equation. Clemson is playing much better football and has no real tests left, so they look safe.

In the Big 12, Oklahoma still has a path to the playoffs, but after losing to K State and almost losing to Iowa State, there are no guarantees, even if they win out. Baylor is unbeaten but will still have to face OU at least once and still has Texas on the schedule. With their weak overall schedule, one loss likely eliminates them. A one loss Oregon or Utah might have a case, but the Pac-12 is a lot like the Big 12; it simply does not have enough good teams to help their chances. In the end, the fourth spot could come down to Georgia with an upset over LSU in the title game or Alabama, who will need to win out, lurk and hope for the best. The Tide does not have a real signature win, but they do have Auburn left on the schedule, and a convincing win would give them a case over Oregon, who lost to Auburn Week 1. So if everything plays out and the top three win out, the remaining contenders for the fourth spot would be Alabama, Oklahoma and the Pac-12 winner with one loss.

What does it all mean for LSU?

LSU likely has a Heisman winner, is clearly one of the top two teams in the country, is a legitimate national title contender and has finally slayed the Alabama demon. Saturday's game was a classic, but there is still work to be done.

However, with the victory, LSU has already accomplished a great deal and set itself up to accomplish so much more.

Here's a look at what happened in the Lone Star State and with LSU:

Saturday NCAA Football Recap: Texas teams win big in Week 11; LSU holds off Alabama

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LSU 46, Alabama 41

Joe "Superman" Burrow completed 31-of-39 passes for 393 yards and three touchdowns, leading the first ranked Tigers to a wild win over No. 2 Alabama on Saturday. 'Bama rallied from a 33-13 halftime deficit to put the Crimson Tide within a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The game lived up to the hype as a duel between high-powered offenses and star quarterbacks. "He's one of the best we've had here," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said of Burrow. "But we've still got four games left and we're going down the road, we're going to try to win every game and we're going to bring a championship back to Louisiana." 20 days after ankle surgery, Alabama quarterback Tug Tagovailoa was 21-of-40 for 418 yards and four touchdowns with an interception and a fumble. Tagovailoa was called a "game-time decision" all week and appeared to be limping after the game, but he kept Alabama in the game. "He said he could play in the game, he wanted to play in the game and he thought he could go out and do a good job," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "I think he was a warrior in terms of what he did." LSU faces Mississippi on the road Saturday night.

Texas 27, Kansas State 24

Once again, kicker Cameron Dicker bailed the Longhorns out with a game-winning field goal. Dicker's flawless 27-yarder lifted Texas to a 27-24 victory over Kansas State on Saturday. "It could have been a really, really bad scene," Texas coach Tom Herman said. "The win is obviously very important for us. The way that it happened, to be down 14-0 in the blink of an eye ... We put ourselves on the ropes (this season) and we took a step toward swinging and scratching and clawing our way off." Dicker has now kicked two game-winners on the final play this season. The first came on a 33-yarder to beat Kansas on Oct. 19. Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson threw for a career-high 253 yards most of which came in the first quarter. Thompson passed for just 36 yards in the second half. "I thought he hung in there really well," Kansas State coach Chris Klieman said. "They were bringing pressure and we were barely getting guys free." The Texas defense looked better than it had all season with a secondary return from All-Big 12 safety Caden Sterns. The secondary didn't force any interception but it kept the opposing receivers from running wide open all over the field. "We showed you all that this is what happens when we're fully healthy," Texas defensive tackle Keondre Coburn said. "This is a great team. Our defense is really good. We've just been hurt." Texas is on the road against Iowa State No. 16.

Baylor 29, TCU 23

No. 11 Baylor needed three overtimes to hold off TCU and get its 11th consecutive victory. Receiver Denzel Mims made a leaping 4-yard touchdown for the Bears to beat TCU 29-23 on Saturday. Mims matched his three touchdown receptions in regulation with three more in overtime, including a lunging grab for a 20-yard score on fourth down in the second overtime. "I knew it was crunch time and it was time for like grown-man football," said Mims. After being shut out in the first half, Baylor needed kicker John Mayers' 51-yard field goal just to stay in the game with 36 seconds left in regulation. This is the seventh time in two seasons that Baylor has won after a fourth-quarter comeback and the 11th straight win for the Bears since losing to TCU last November. The offensive struggles for the Bears continue as the sole undefeated team in the Big 12 managed only 294 total yards of offense, 90 of which came in overtime. "Winning is never ugly," Rhule said. "I've lost a lot, and I'll take this any day of the week." Baylor hosts No. 9 Oklahoma in a huge Big 12 matchup on Saturday. TCU is on the road Saturday against Texas Tech.

Texas Tech 38, West Virginia 17

Texas Tech quarterback Jett Duffey threw for one touchdown and moved the offense at will to beat West Virginia 38-17 on Saturday, handing the Mountaineers their fifth consecutive loss. Duffey's touchdown boosts his total scores to 10 after taking over for the injured Alan Bowman in mid-September. Duffey finished 24-of-34 for 354 yards passing. West Virginia quarterback Austin Kendall was intercepted twice and fumbled the ball on fourth down in the first quarter. West Virginia's losing streak is its worst since losing five straight in 2012. Texas Tech hosts TCU nest Saturday.

Texas State 30, South Alabama 28

Texas State kicker Joshua Rowland drilled a 31-yarder late in fourth quarter lifting the Bobcats to a 30-28 victory over South Alabama on Saturday. Quarterback Tyler Vitt completed 23-of-33 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns in the Bobcats first win of the season.

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