Three of the spots in the College Football Playoff felt as though they were effectively clinched on championship Saturday. On Sunday, the College Football Playoff selection committee confirmed that by placing No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Oklahoma, and No. 3 Georgia in the playoff as champions of their respective conferences. When it came down to deciding between the two-loss Big Ten champion Ohio State and the one-loss Alabama without a division championship, the committee had one of the toughest decisions to make yet in the brief history of the playoff.
In the end, the committee gave the nod to the Crimson Tide. Alabama edged out Ohio State for the final spot, with Wisconsin finishing No. 6 outside the playoff.
The Sugar Bowl will be played between Clemson and Alabama in a rematch of the past two national championship games. The Rose Bowl will get Oklahoma and Georgia in the other semifinal game. This will be the first season in which two teams from the same conference play in the same playoff.
Alabama will be in the playoff for the fourth straight season and remains the only team to play in each College Football Playoff. That gives Alabama the longest-running current streak of playoff appearances. This will be the third consecutive season Clemson will play in the playoff, with Clemson being the owner of the second-longest active playoff streak. It is fitting these two collide for a third straight year, and it may be good that it does not happen in another championship game for the sake of the sport and the playoff.
This will be Oklahoma’s second trip to the College Football Playoff. Their last trip did not go so well with a blowout loss against Clemson two seasons ago. This year could be much different with an offense that may be the most dangerous in the playoff field. The biggest concern for Oklahoma may be the defense, but with Heisman Trophy frontrunner Baker Mayfield, the Sooners arguably have the best offense in the playoff this season.
Georgia will make its first appearance in the College Football Playoff. The Bulldogs avenged their only loss of the season with an SEC Championship Game victory over Auburn on Saturday. The two teams traded blowout wins and Georgia ended the season with just the one loss.
So there you have it. It’s done. Let the games begin.