For the first time in the short history of the College Football Playoff, there are two teams from one conference among the final four.
After “Championship Saturday,” there was zero debate on three teams – ACC champ Clemson, Big 12 champ Oklahoma and SEC champ Georgia. To fill out the field, the selection committee chose Alabama (11-1) over Big Ten champ Ohio State (11-2), giving the SEC two teams among the quartet.
Alabama was chosen despite not winning even its division title. While Ohio State owns three impressive wins, over Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan State, the Buckeyes also have a 31-point loss to five-point Iowa on their résumé.
Alabama is the only team that has made the four-team CFP field in all four seasons of its existence. In addition, Tide coach Nick Saban is alive for his sixth national title, which would tie him with former Alabama coach Bear Bryant for the most in FBS history.
Alabama will play No. 1 Clemson (12-1), the defending national champion, in the Sugar Bowl; the other semifinal will match No.2 Oklahoma (12-1) against No. 3 Georgia (12-1) in the Rose Bowl. Both semifinals are on New Year’s Day.
Alabama and Clemson have played in the past two finals, with each coming down to the final minute; the Tide won the 2015 title. Ohio State won the title in 2014, the first season of the CFP.
Alabama is the second consecutive non-champion to make the field. Ohio State was the first, being selected last season over Big Ten champion Penn State. The difference is that the Buckeyes took the slot of another team from the Big Ten. This season, the Big Ten (and Pac-12) was left out.
The New Year’s Six bowl matchups:
* Auburn vs. UCF in the Peach.
* Miami vs. Wisconsin in the Orange.
* Ohio State vs. USC in the Cotton.
* Penn State vs. Washington in the Fiesta.
(You can follow Mike Huguenin on Twitter @MikeHuguenin)
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