LAS VEGAS — In an ironic twist, Joe Burrow never was good enough to start at Ohio State, but the Louisiana State quarterback could finish his college career by facing the Buckeyes for the national championship.

If that scenario develops, William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said, “I like Ohio State over LSU on a neutral field by 2½ to 3 points.”

In more irony, the January title game will be staged in New Orleans. But there could be chaos between now and then.

As of now, the College Football Playoff bracket appears to be 50 percent complete with LSU and Ohio State written in ink while four teams fight in pencil for the other two spots. Conference championship weekend is not a must-win situation for the Tigers in the SEC and the Buckeyes in the Big Ten because those teams were able to run the table in the nation’s two toughest leagues.

The third spot in the bracket is only mildly interesting. Clemson, the other remaining undefeated team, is a 28½-point favorite over Virginia in the ACC title game. While coach Dabo Swinney claims the defending national champions are being disrespected by the playoff committee, it should be a moot motivational point.

The Gold Sheet editor Bruce Marshall said he’s impressed enough by Clemson, which won the past two ACC Championship games by 32 and 35 points, to lay slightly more than four touchdowns against the Cavaliers.

“It’s a lot of points, but I like Clemson,” Marshall said. “Dabo is doing everything he can to light a fire under his team and now it’s the us-against-the-world routine.”

The fourth and final spot is where the debates begin.

LSU is a 7-point favorite over Georgia in Atlanta. If the Bulldogs win, they are assumed to be in and there would be no chaos. A win by LSU would open the bracket door for the Oklahoma-Baylor winner in the Big 12 or Utah in the Pac-12.

“If Georgia loses, I think the Big 12 will be in,” Bogdanovich said. “If [Oklahoma] wins, [it] for sure will get in over Utah. I think Utah is going to get the shaft.”

Arguments in favor of Utah being a worthy playoff team will be made all week, but the Utes need to win once more before that debate matters, and coach Kyle Whittingham probably is aware his team needs to pile up style points and beat Oregon by double digits under the Friday night lights in Santa Clara, Calif. If the national perception is the Pac-12 is the weakest of the power conferences, that opinion is not entirely wrong.

The Utes are stuck with a 30-23 loss at USC in September on their résumé. So the bottom line is Utah not only must win the Pac-12 Championship game, it must win impressively to have a realistic playoff shot.

Ten of the Utes’ 11 wins were by double digits. Utah is a 6½-point favorite over the Ducks, who are ’dogs for the first time since their season-opening 27-21 loss to Auburn on a neutral field.

The Big 12 title game in Arlington, Texas is a rematch from Nov. 16, when Oklahoma rallied from a 28-3 deficit to stun Baylor, 34-31. The Sooners were 10½-point favorites in Waco, and they are nine-point favorites on Saturday.

Alabama has been eliminated from playoff contention but, in another ironic twist, a former Crimson Tide quarterback remains in the hunt. Jalen Hurts has had a phenomenal season by the numbers — 3,347 passing yards, 71.9 percent completions and 31 touchdowns in addition to 1,217 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. Hurts passed for 297 yards and four TDs and ran 27 times for 114 yards in Oklahoma’s wild comeback against the Bears.

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

The Big Ten championship in Indianapolis is another rematch. Ohio State is a 16½-point favorite over Wisconsin, after the Buckeyes whipped the Badgers 38-7 in late October.

Of course, if Georgia pulls an upset the playoff committee will get a break. Still, there is no reason to think LSU will let off the gas on Saturday.

Burrow, who transferred from Ohio State two years ago, is trying to clinch the Heisman Trophy and the SEC title is on the line, so the stakes are high for both sides. Burrow has passed for 4,366 yards and 44 touchdowns this season. This is Burrow and LSU’s wide-open offense versus Georgia’s elite defense. Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart has the nation’s No. 2 scoring defense (10.4 ppg) and 15th-ranked pass defense.

“There’s no way LSU should be a touchdown favorite against Georgia. That’s crazy,” Westgate SuperBook director John Murray said.

The betting market disagrees. The Tigers, double-digit favorites in 10 of 12 games, opened -6 and the line was quickly bet up one point. The betting public is infatuated with high-scoring offenses, so LSU will get plenty of support against a Georgia team that wins ugly.