The College Football Playoff committee went chalk. There were no surprises.
Oklahoma was selected at the heavily debated fourth spot and will meet No. 1 Alabama in one semifinal Dec. 29 at the Orange Bowl in Miami. Clemson and Notre Dame, both undefeated, will meet in the other semifinal in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
There was some thought Georgia, who was ranked fourth in the final playoff rankings Tuesday, did enough in nearly upsetting Alabama in Saturday’s SEC Championship to become the first two-loss team included in the playoff. But Oklahoma, the Big 12 champion that defeated Texas on Saturday to avenge its lone loss, was given the nod.
It will be Notre Dame’s first playoff appearance, while Clemson is in for the fourth straight season. Oklahoma has reached the playoff twice before, but has never advanced to the title game. Alabama has been in the playoff in the previous four years.
The experts don’t expect either game to be very competitive. Super Book USA installed Alabama as a 14.5-point favorite over Oklahoma and Clemson an 11-point favorite over Notre Dame.
The two games feature interesting subplots. Alabama-Oklahoma is a quarterback showdown featuring the top two Heisman Trophy contenders, Kyler Murray of Oklahoma and Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama. Notre Dame-Clemson, meanwhile, is the true ACC championship. The independent Fighting Irish faced five ACC teams and handled Syracuse, which nearly upset Clemson, far easier than the Tigers did.
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