Conventional wisdom is that the 2011 BCS national championship game between Alabama and LSU led to the formation of the four-team playoff. So what happens now that two SEC teams will play for the playoff title?
Third-seeded Georgia outlasted second-seeded Oklahoma 54-48 in double overtime in an epic Rose Bowl showdown and fourth-seeded Alabama slogged past top-seeded Clemson 24-6 in an utterly unmemorable Sugar Bowl to set up an all-SEC title game next Monday in Atlanta.
Georgia is aiming for its first national title since 1980; Alabama will be going for its fifth national championship in nine seasons.
This will be Alabama’s third consecutive appearance in the title game. The Tide beat Clemson for the 2015 title, then lost to the Tigers in last season’s final.
The Bulldogs (13-1) moved on after a pulsating win over the Sooners. After blocking the Sooners’ field goal attempt on their second OT possession, senior running back Sony Michel scored the game-winner on a 27-yard run.
Michel rushed for 181 yards and three TDs on 11 carries as the Bulldogs rolled up 317 rushing yards on just 34 attempts. Georgia also had five rushing TDs.
The Tide (12-1), meanwhile, won the Sugar Bowl with a dominant defensive performance, holding the Tigers to just 188 total yards. Alabama didn’t do all that much offensively — the Tide had only 261 total yards and one of its TDs was a pick-six — but it didn’t matter because of the defensive effort.
Clemson had 70 plays from scrimmage and averaged just 2.7 yards per play.
The Tide’s inclusion in the playoff was somewhat controversial because it didn’t win its division (Auburn beat the Tide and won the SEC West). Now, though, Nick Saban’s crew is playing for another national title.
Alabama is an early four-point favorite.
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