Alabama gets college football playoff nod over Ohio State
Alabama is in, winning the great debate over Ohio State to reach the College Football Playoff yet again.
The Crimson Tide got the nod Sunday for the fourth and final spot over the Buckeyes and will play Clemson Jan. 1 in the Sugar Bowl. Oklahoma and Georgia will meet in the Rose Bowl semifinal a few hours earlier.
Tide or Buckeyes was the question facing the selection committee, the toughest call in the four-year history of the playoff.
The Tide had been more consistent and lost just once. The Buckeyes lost twice, including an embarrassing 31-point loss at unranked Iowa, but have a more impressive set of victories. Ohio State won the Big Ten while Alabama did not even win its Southeastern Conference division.
The committee rolled with the Tide, and for the first time the playoff will include two teams from the same conference. Alabama joins SEC champion Georgia and an all-SEC title game on Jan. 8 in Atlanta is possible.
Ohio State was ranked fifth by the CFP, Wisconsin was sixth and Auburn was seventh. Southern California finished eighth, followed by Penn State and Miami. Washington was 11th and unbeaten UCF was 12th.
The rest of the New Year’s Six bowls fell this way: USC (11-2) vs. Ohio State (11-2) in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29; Washington (10-2) vs. Penn State (10-2) in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 30; Miami (11-1) vs. Wisconsin (12-1) in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30; and UCF (12-0) vs. Auburn (10-3) in the Peach Bowl on Jan. 1.
Committee chairman Kirby Hocutt said the Iowa loss hurt Ohio State and the Buckeyes were not close enough to the Tide for the Big Ten championship result — a 27-21 win over previously unbeaten Wisconsin — to matter.