The field for the College Football Playoff is set and New Year’s Day is going to be lit, as the kids say, with the Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl hosting four great teams.
Entering Selection Sunday, there was only one spot up for grabs after Clemson, Oklahoma and Georgia won their conference championship games to secure their spot in the four-team field. The only drama was who the fourth team would be from Alabama and Ohio State. Ultimately, the committee chose to give the fourth spot to Alabama who only had one loss, to Auburn, on the year, but didn’t win their conference or their own division.
I think the committee got it right, although I anticipate many proud Buckeye fans will disagree with that and I understand their displeasure. Ohio State was left out because of two ugly losses, including a 15-point home loss to Oklahoma and a 31-point loss to a 7-5 Iowa team in which they allowed 55 points. So Ohio State has only themselves to blame.
But all of that discussion can now turn to the actual College Football Playoff games, which provides plenty of intrigue and no shortage of storylines.
The Sugar Bowl will see Clemson and Alabama meet for the third year in a row. Each has a win in the National Championship Game over each other, so the rubber match will decide who plays for the championship this year. The Rose Bowl sees Oklahoma and Heisman favorite Baker Mayfield play Georgia who makes their first playoff appearance.
New Year’s Day Schedule
Rose Bowl: No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Georgia – 5:00 p.m ET – ESPN
Sugar Bowl: No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Alabama – 8:45 p.m. ET – ESPN
The winner of the games will meet in the National Championship Game presented by AT&T on Jan. 8 at 8:00 ET.
Who do you think will play in the National Championship Game and who do you think will emerge victoriously?
My early pick is for Clemson and Oklahoma to meet in the title game, although I’m sure I’ll change my mind roughly 487 times between now and New Year’s Day.