Chalk overcame the chaos in the final College Football Playoff ranking of the year.
There were no shocking surprises, no insurgents cracking the top 4… and, when all was said and done, no Alabama in the Playoff.
As expected, defending champion Georgia (13-0) remained the No. 1 seed after the Bulldogs beat LSU, 50-30, in Saturday’s SEC championship game, while fellow undefeated Michigan (13-0) remained No. 2 after that. the Wolverines defeated Purdue 43-22 in the Big Ten title game.
Despite some intrigue, TCU (12-1) remained No. 3 after losing to Kansas State, 31-28 in overtime, in the Big 12 title game.
Ohio State (11-1) jumped from 5 to No. 4 after Utah defeated then No. 4 Southern Cal in Friday night’s Pac-12 championship game.
No. No. 1 Georgia gains home court advantage by taking on No. 4 Ohio State in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta in a national semifinal on Dec. 31 (8 p.m.), while No. 2 Michigan meets No. 3 TCU in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona. (16.00 hours)
The national championship game is scheduled for January 9 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.
It is the fourth time a conference has sent two teams to the Playoff. The Big Ten’s only championship under this format came when Ohio State defeated Oregon in its first year in 2015.
Alabama (10-2), which has won three national championships under the current format, finished No. 5 and will play Big 12 champion Kansas State (10-3) on December 31 in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Nick Saban’s team failed to win the SEC West, losing to an LSU team that now has four losses and had no history in its favor: A team with two losses has never made the Playoff.
“When we looked at the overall body of work, the committee felt comfortable with Ohio State at 4 and Alabama at 5,” committee chair Boo Corrigan said on ESPN.
Asked if the possibility of an Ohio State-Michigan rematch in a potential 2-3 game played a role in Ohio State’s No. 4 seeding, Corrigan said, “It really wasn’t discussed. Our goal was to get the top four teams right.”
Saban told ESPN that his team had not suffered heavy losses, while some other teams did. He pointed out that his team’s two losses – at Tennessee and at LSU – totaled 4 points, and that his quarterback, who defended Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, was dealing with a shoulder injury.
Still, he told ESPN’s Mardy Smith, “We’re definitely national championship caliber.”
But those arguments did not go over with the committee.
“I’m watching an Alabama team that has suffered two losses, they’re not even in this conversation for me,” ESPN’s Booger McFarland said on Sunday morning’s broadcast. “The only reason they’re in this conversation is because of their history and what we’ve seen from Alabama.”
Despite Saturday’s loss, TCU secured a victory against Big 12 champion Kansas State, which is better than anything Alabama or Ohio State has on its resume.
“There was also a lot of respect for Kansas State in that room and that win [by TCU over Kansas State in the regular season] kind of won the day for TCU to be the No. 3 team,” Corrigan said.
TCU went 4-1 against Top 25 teams, while Ohio State was 2-1.
“We shouldn’t be penalized for coming to the Big 12 Championship,” says TCU coach Sonny Dykes told reporters after the overtime loss.
“We were No. 3 last week and I hope we stay at No. 3 and go to the tee and see how we do,” he added.