College Football Playoff games, schedule: Alabama snags final spot over Ohio State

The debate is over. The College Football Playoff is now set, and three of the four teams making the final field are conference champions that clinched their spots by virtue of wins on Saturday.

1. Clemson (12-1)
2. Oklahoma (12-1)
3. Georgia (12-1)
4. Alabama (11-1)

That means the Tigers will take on the Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl -- a rematch of the last two national championships -- while the Sooners and Bulldogs will square off in the Rose Bowl in a pair of CFP Semifinal games on Monday, Jan. 1.

Sugar Bowl (Jan. 1)National Championship (Jan. 8)Rose Bowl (Jan. 1)

1. Clemson (12-1)

No. 2 Oklahoma (12-1)

Sugar winner vs. Rose winner

4. Alabama (11-1)

No. 3 Georgia (12-1)

It also means No. 5 Ohio State (11-2) was left out of the top four due in large part to its 31-point road loss to Iowa and despite the Buckeyes winning a conference championship and two games against teams in the final top 10. Slotting in at No. 6 is Wisconsin (12-1), ahead of Pac-12 champion USC (11-2).

The committee is sending several messages, some of which people have not wanted to hear, with the selection of Alabama over Ohio State.  The first of those is that they have no problem selecting two teams from the same conference.  Conference champion Georgia and SEC West division runner-up Alabama are both in the field.

Another message is that conference championships do not mean a lot.  We learned that last year, too, but people do not like to hear that. The committee has said all along that being a conference champion is just a tiebreaker, which means that the committee did not feel that it was close between Alabama and Ohio State. In fact, Kirby Hocutt said as much on the selection show.

And finally, we learned once again that this is a highly subjective process. Alabama has a slightly better record against a similar schedule but lacks the quality wins of Ohio State. The other thing the Crimson Tide lacks is a completely non-competitive performance, which the Buckeyes certainly have in a 31-point drubbing at Iowa.  It is hard to imagine Alabama losing by 31 to anyone.  It is hard to imagine Alabama not showing up to play.  The Tide may not always Roll, but they never roll over.  The loss to Oklahoma was more forgivable and not just because the Sooners are a better team.  At least that game was tied at halftime and a four-point game after three quarters. It was not necessarily obvious which team had a better resume.  It was obvious which was a better team.

Wisconsin showing up No. 6 in the rankings means that the Badgers are headed to the Orange Bowl, which jumbles the ACC and Big Ten bowl projections.  When the Big Ten gets in the Orange Bowl instead of the SEC or Notre Dame, the ACC gets the league's spot in the Citrus Bowl.  Why does this make sense?  I have no idea.  It does mean that the ACC can now fill all of its bowl commitments and that the Big Ten will have a team for Foster Farms, most likely Purdue.

Selection committee bowl games

DATEGAME / LOC.TIME / TVteams

Jan. 1

Peach Bowl
Atlanta

12:30 p.m.
ESPN

No. 7 Auburn vs. No. 12 UCF

Dec. 30

Fiesta Bowl
Glendale, Ariz.

4 p.m.
ESPN

No. 9 Penn State vs. No. 11 Washington

Dec. 30

Orange Bowl
Miami

8 p.m.
ESPN

No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No. 10 Miami

Dec. 29

Cotton Bowl
Arlington, Texas

8:30 p.m.
ESPN

No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 8 USC

<strong>Follow live as we cover every live bowl game announcement throughout the day on Sunday.</strong>  

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Jerry Palm started writing about sports on the Internet right after Al Gore invented it. He was the first to bring RPI out in the open and is one of the pioneers of predicting the March Madness bracket.... Full Bio

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