College Football Playoff field is set: Alabama joins Clemson, Oklahoma and Georgia
The College Football Playoff field is set.
Clemson is the No. 1 seed and will play No. 4 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
Oklahoma is the No. 2 seed and will face No. 3 Georgia in the Rose Bowl.
The Tigers enter as the defending champions after crushing Miami (Fla.) in the ACC title game. The Crimson Tide beat out Big Ten champion Ohio State for the final spot despite not winning its SEC division.
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Its the first time two teams from the same conference have made the field. It's also the second consecutive season a team that did not play in a conference championship game was selected.
“As we saw Alabama play week in and week in out, the selection committee believed Alabama was the better football team,” College Football Playoff committee chairman Kirby Hocutt after the announcement. “When we looked at Ohio State, when you looked at their resume it was impressive but it wasn’t enough for the selection committee to place them in above Alabama.
"We don't look at conference affiliation. We look at the four best teams."
While Ohio State had more quality wins, including defeats of Penn State and Wisconsin, the Buckeyes also lost by 15 to Oklahoma and 31 to Iowa this season. Alabama's lone loss was to No. 7 Auburn on the road.
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer noted the loss to the Hawkeyes loomed large in the end.
"I was kind of hoping we would get credit for the quality wins," Meyer said. "I get it. Move forward."
This will be the third consecutive meeting in the playoff between Clemson and Alabama. They played in the last two championship games with the Tide winning in 2015 and the Tigers winning in 2016.
The Sooners and Bulldogs both clinched their spots with respective conference championship game victories in the Big 12 and SEC. The two teams have never played.
It will be a matchup of the top-ranked offense against one of the best defenses as Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield, the expected Heisman winner, tries to solve the Bulldogs, who are in fourth in total defense and second in passing yards allowed.
Clemson, Oklahoma and Alabama are all making repeat appearances in the field. The trio along with Ohio State have accounted for 11 of the 16 berths in the four years of the systems. This the first time Georgia has been selected.
Both of the semifinal games will be played on Jan. 1.
The winners will meet in the College Football Playoff championship game on Jan. 8 in Atlanta.
The complete College Football Playoff rankings
1. Clemson (12-1)
2. Oklahoma (12-1)
3. Georgia (12-1)
4. Alabama (11-1)
5. Ohio State (10-2)
6. Wisconsin (12-1)
7. Auburn (10-3)
8. Southern California (11-2)
9. Penn State (10-2)
10. Miami (Fla.) (10-2)
11. Washington (10-2)
12. Central Florida (12-0)
13. Stanford (9-4)
14. Notre Dame (9-3)
15. TCU (10-3)
16. Michigan State (9-3)
17. LSU (9-3)
18. Washington State (9-3)
19. Oklahoma State (9-3)
20. Memphis (10-2)
21. Northwestern (9-3)
22. Virginia Tech (9-3)
23. Mississippi State (8-4)
24. North Carolina State (8-4)
25. Boise State (10-3)
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