Eight teams went into Saturday with hopes of earning one of the four playoff spots up for grabs. After the conference championship games were finished, the committee was put in a difficult spot with five deserving conference champions and only four spots.
Alabama earned the No. 4 spot and will face No. 1 Michigan in the Rose Bowl. The other semifinal matchup will be No. 2 Washington against No. 3 Texas in the Sugar Bowl. Both games will take place on January 1 on ESPN. The Rose Bowl matchup in Pasadena, Calif., will begin at 4 p.m. CT, while the Sugar Bowl will take place in New Orleans starting at 7:45 p.m. CT.
With Alabama earning a berth in the College Football Playoffs, they continue the SEC’s streak of being a part of every single playoff. The SEC has been crowned champions in six of the past nine playoffs, including the last four.
The Crimson Tide’s 27-24 win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game helped vault Alabama into the playoffs from the eighth spot, marking the largest jump in playoff history.
The decision to include Alabama in the playoffs over Florida State was greeted with plenty of controversy, but regardless of who the committee chose, someone was going to be disappointed in the decision. Undefeated ACC champion Florida State created history by being the first time an undefeated Power 5 champion was left out of the playoffs.
The committee's choice of Alabama over Florida State was significantly influenced by the Seminoles' loss of starting quarterback Jordan Travis, who sustained a season-ending leg injury in a game against North Alabama last month. Following the injury, the Seminoles faced challenges in their victories against Florida and Louisville, being unable to accumulate more than 225 total yards in either game.
Most years, chaos unleashes in college football and eliminates contenders, making the decisions easy for the committee, but this year, chaos never broke. As a result, the committee got stuck with a tough decision having to fill four spots with eight deserving teams. Next year, the playoffs will expand from four teams to 12 teams, but it seems it is coming one year too late.
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