- The one big mystery left in the playoff was answered as Alabama has been selected over Ohio State.
- Ohio State’s win in the Big Ten championship game was not enough to overcome their second loss, a 31-point debacle against Iowa.
- Clemson is the 1-seed and will play Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
The College Football Playoff field is set and the one big mystery has been settled as Alabama is in over Ohio State.
Our projection had Alabama as the fourth team, based on their having just one loss and Ohio State having an ugly 31-point loss to Iowa and struggling to beat a Wisconsin team the committee clearly did not believe in.
The counter-argument was that Ohio State had better wins than Alabama and a conference championship. While true, it clearly wasn’t enough for Ohio State to jump all the way up from No. 8 to leap-frog the Crimson Tide.
Entering Championship Saturday, Alabama was the one team in the top seven that needed help. Their best path to the playoff was blocked when Oklahoma beat TCU easily, 41-17. That meant Bama still needed either Miami to beat Clemson or Ohio State to beat Wisconsin and neither of those results guaranteed a spot in the playoff for Bama.
Ohio State did beat Wisconsin, opening the door for Alabama, but also for themselves. What hurt the Buckeyes on Saturday is that they beat Wisconsin by just six points. It had been clear all season that the committee was not sold on undefeated Wisconsin as a powerhouse, putting them in the top four for the first time just before the conference championships.
Clemson to the Sugar Bowl.
Clemson will play their semifinal game against Alabama, a rematch of the last two championship games, at the Sugar Bowl. Oklahoma will go to the Rose Bowl to play Georgia in the other semifinal.
The location was important because the top seed is supposed to be placed in the geographically more favorable semifinal. There was some talk of Clemson going to the Rose Bowl if Alabama were their semifinal opponent to avoid giving Bama a local game also, but Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said he still preferred the travel schedule of playing in the Sugar Bowl.