ATLANTA, GA – The team that vanquished Alabama vs. the quarterback who left the Crimson Tide.
Top-ranked LSU (13-0) will return to Atlanta on Dec. 28 to face Jalen Hurts and No. 4 Oklahoma (12-1) at the Peach Bowl semifinal in the College Football Playoff.
The CFP selection committee announced the pairings Sunday, with the only drama surrounding which team would be the top seed: LSU or Ohio State.
The Tigers got the nod after their impressive 37-10 victory over then-No. 4 Georgia in the Southeastern Conference championship game, held less than 24 hours earlier in the very same stadium where LSU will return in three weeks for their first appearance in the 6-year-old playoff.
With Georgia going down, Oklahoma moved up to take the final playoff spot after beating Baylor 30-23 in overtime for the Big 12 championship.
This will be the fourth playoff appearance for the Sooners, though they have never advanced past the semifinals. Last season, they lost to Alabama 45-34 in the Orange Bowl.
Alabama failed to make the playoff for the first time since it was launched in 2014. LSU handed the Crimson Tide its initial loss with a 46-41 victory in Tuscaloosa, and Bama's final hope of slipping into the postseason field ended with a bitter setback to Auburn in the regular-season finale.
Hurts guided Alabama to a pair of national championship games in his two seasons as starting quarterback. But he was replaced by Tua Tagavailoa during the 2018 title game against Georgia, watching as the freshman led a comeback and an overtime victory.
Tagavailoa took over as the starter last season, forcing Hurts to serve in a backup role for his junior year. After graduating from Alabama, Hurts transferred to Oklahoma for his final college season — and wound up back in the playoff with an enormously successful campaign.
The dual threat passed for 3,634 yards with 32 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, while rushing for 1,255 yards and 18 TDs.
In the Peach Bowl, he'll meet the overwhelming favorite for the Heisman Trophy: LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who turned in another dynamic performance while claiming the MVP award of the SEC championship game.
Burrow threw for 349 yards and four touchdowns against Georgia, pushing his season total to 4,715 yards passing with 48 TDs and just six interceptions. He also turned in one of the signature plays of the season, spinning to his left and then to his right to get away from two defenders before delivering a pass that went for 71 yards.
Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 His work can be found at https://apnews.com