There was no drama about who would be on the varsity football playoff field when the committee released its final rankings on Sunday. The only question was how the four teams would be ranked.
The debate took place between Alabama and Michigan after the two teams scored dominant victories in their respective conference title games. The Crimson Tide won the SEC by beating former No.1 Georgia. The Wolverines looked after Iowa for the Big Ten crown.
In the end, the committee went with Alabama in first place in their dominant win, neglecting three previous narrow SEC wins that had left them behind in Atlanta. The Crimson Tide will face Cincinnati, the first group of five to advance to the playoffs after the Bearcats beat Houston in the American Athletic. Alabama have won all five school games with their most recent victory in 1990. The game will be played at the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas.
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The second semi-final at the Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens, Fla., Will see No.2 Michigan take on No.3 Georgia. Schools have only played twice with their last meeting in 1965.
Notre Dame and Ohio State were fifth and sixth in the final standings, narrowly missing the playoffs. The rest of the Top 25 will be revealed later Sunday.
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This is the seventh playoff appearance for Alabama, which leads Clemson in most overall selections since the system started in 2014. Georgia will make their second trip to the semifinals. It is also the first time for Michigan.
While Alabama is on the ground, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma are notably absent. Three of the quartet had made all the playoffs since 2015. Only one has succeeded this season.
The two semi-finals will take place on December 31. The winners will meet at the College Football Playoff Championship game on January 10 in Indianapolis.
The rest of the six New Year’s bowls are announced later Sunday. Utah and Ohio State will play in the Rose Bowl. Baylor is confirmed in the Sugar Bowl with Mississippi as his likely opponent.
Follow college reporter Erick Smith on Twitter @ericksmith