Alabama opens as slight favorite over Clemson

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart reacts after Georgia wide receiver Terry Godwin scored a touchdown against Auburn during the second half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game Saturday Dec. 2 2017 in Atlanta. (AP Pho

There was visible surprise on the ESPN set when the rankings were released as most thought Ohio State would get the call. Georgia and Oklahoma will play in the Rose Bowl in the other semifinal. To fill out the field, the selection committee chose Alabama (11-1) over Big Ten champ Ohio State (11-2), giving the SEC two teams among the quartet.

It'll be Alabama-Clemson in the Sugar Bowl on January 1 for a spot in the national championship game. The committee announced Sunday afternoon that Clemson would be the top seed, while Oklahoma, Georgia, and Alabama rounded out the top 4. The SEC plays eight conference games, and two weeks ago Alabama took out mighty Mercer of the FCS.

After a 38-3 blowout win over Miami, defending national champion Clemson (12-1) has now won three straight ACC titles and clinched the No. 1 spot in the playoff rankings for the second time in three years. The Buckeyes went on to win the national championship that year.

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In the four seasons of the College Football Playoff, there has never been a two-loss program make the four-team field, including a deserving Big Ten champion Penn State last season.

However, after Auburn and Wisconsin lost, that changed the landscape of the four best teams in the nation.

In fairness, the Seminoles would've made more noise this year had their starting quarterback stayed healthy, but you can't convince me that would've happened to an Oklahoma, Clemson, or - dare I say it - an Ohio State. "And I think that that consideration based on the kind of team they had then is very important". "I was kind of hoping that we had those good wins".

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