Claire Komarek, CBS Sports

Months of the college football season were spent debating who would be among the final four, then nearly another month debating which of the four selected teams would prevail. Now we've finally arrived. The College Football Playoff semifinals are here. Soon Michigan, Alabama, Texas and Washington will all take the field in their respective semifinal games and end the debate once and for all. 

But that doesn't mean we are going to stop trying to figure it out before kickoff.

Will Michigan finally get over the hump under Jim Harbaugh and win the College Football Playoff for the first time in three straight appearances (first as a No. 1 seed) on the way to bringing the Wolverines faithful their first national championship since 1997? Will Washington and Michael Penix Jr. continue to prove their doubters wrong while continuing their undefeated season as the No. 2 seed?

No. 3 Texas has already shown it's "back," but the Longhorns -- just the third Big 12 team to ever make the CFP -- might just be all the way back if they can win their first national crown since 2005. And then there's Alabama, which controversially entered the field at No. 4 over undefeated Florida State and must now prove that decision correct. Will the Crimson Tide reclaim their throne and continue Nick Saban's streak of winning national titles at least once every three years at Alabama?

We'll find out soon enough. For now, let's try to figure out what'll happen in Monday night's CFP semifinals on New Year's Day.

College Football Playoff cases: No. 1 Michigan | No. 2 Washington | No. 3 Texas | No. 4 Alabama

2023 Rose Bowl: (1) Michigan -1.5 vs. (4) Alabama

Spread: The line for this game is on point. All things equal, the outcome of this game is a coin flip. Michigan has been one of the most dominant teams in the country, and while it doesn't have nearly the same level of postseason success Alabama has experienced under coach Nick Saban, this is not your typical Alabama team. We've seen the Crimson Tide struggle against inferior competition at times this season, and the Wolverines defense is legitimate; it will cause the Tide plenty of problems.

Still, I'm not here to sit on the fence, so if I'm going to make a pick, it's hard to pass up Alabama as an underdog in a College Football Playoff game, no? The Tide have captured three national titles in this format and won more playoff games (nine) than any other program. Michigan is yet to win one despite consecutive appearances. Maybe its first will come in the Rose Bowl against Alabama, but I need proof of concept before I bet on it. Pick: Alabama +1.5

Further reading: Keys to the game -- how to pick Michigan vs. Alabama

Total: When you look at these teams, it's hard to argue that the best units on both squads are their defenses. However, this total isn't giving nearly enough credit to the offenses. Michigan has scored 3.15 points per possession this season, which ranks seventh nationally. Alabama isn't far behind with 2.81 (20th). Both teams excel at finishing drives in the red zone and avoiding negative plays that cause the offense to fall behind schedule. Granted, neither has spent the entire season playing defenses as good as the ones they'll be facing here, but with a total at 44.5, it's not as if we need a high-scoring shootout. A 24-21 game gets us home. Plus, have you seen the history of the Rose Bowl? That's a fast track in Pasadena. Pick: Over 44.5

Prop: The Michigan defense has been one of the most dominant units in the country. You can see that when looking at the numbers and watching it with your eyes. Some will point out the offenses the Wolverines have faced have skewed those numbers. But then there are the stat nerds with the fancy metrics nobody understands who will tell you that, even adjusted for their opponents, the Michigan defense has been incredible. Whatever the case, the fact of the matter is the most mobile QB the Wolverines have faced is Rutgers' Gavin Wimsatt, and he isn't much of a threat with his arm. They haven't seen anybody close to Jalen Milroe. Alabama will need to use Milroe's legs in this game to attack this Michigan defense. He has a tendency to lose too many yards when sacked, but a few big runs should get us comfortably past this number. Pick: Jalen Milroe Over 32.5 rushing yards

2023 Sugar Bowl: (2) Washington +4 vs. (3) Texas

Spread: These teams have a lot in common. Both are led by terrific offensive play callers who do a tremendous job of creating ways to put the ball in their best players' hands. Both have excellent quarterbacks surrounded by a deep cadre of talent at the skill positions and strong offensive lines to boot. If there's a difference between them, it's on the defensive side of the ball. Texas' defensive line, led by T'Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy, could be the best in the country. It's certainly the best the Washington offense will have faced this season.

The problem for Texas? If there's a weak spot on the Longhorns defense, it's the secondary, and that's a terrible place to have problems when you're going against Michael Penix Jr., Rome Odunze, Ja'Lynn Polk and the Huskies. My suspicion is this game goes back and forth seeing plenty of points put on the board, but Texas strikes me as the more complete team, so that's the side I'm taking. But don't worry, Washington. I felt the same way about Oregon, and you know how that went. Pick: Texas -4

Further reading: Keys to the game -- how to pick Washington vs. Texas

Total: Points! Points! Points! While I'm not overly confident in picking a winner here, I'm quite sure we will see plenty of big plays and points on the scoreboard. I've just seen this game play out too many times before. When you give two great play callers nearly a month to prepare for a team and figure out the weak spots they can exploit, they usually do just that. While I love many of the players on the Texas defense and more than a few on Washington's unit, great offense overcomes great defense more often than not these days, and there are just too many playmakers in this game. Pick: Over 63.5

Prop: Washington running back Dillon Johnson has been the unsung hero of the Huskies offense over the final stretch of the season; he's averaged 137 yards rushing over the last five games with eight touchdowns. However, the Huskies have not run into a defense with anything close to what Texas has on the defensive line, particularly with T'Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy in the middle. If you're going to attack the Texas defense, its secondary is the weakest link, so Johnson probably won't see as many carries in the Sugar Bowl as he has been lately. Pick: Dillon Johnson Under 73.5 rushing yards

Which college football picks can you make with confidence during bowl season? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned well over $2,000 in profit over the past seven-plus seasons -- and find out.