You again, Alabama? Michigan, how long has it been? Nice to see you, Georgia. Orientation this way, Cincinnati.
The college football playoff selection committee on Sunday announced those four schools – representing three conferences, 31 claiming national championships and a lot of anticipation, hype and ostracism – as the grounds for this season’s title.
Left without meaningful controversy: Clemson, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oklahoma are among Blue Bloods’ blues, but events that will take place elsewhere on January 10, when the championship game is played in Indianapolis.
The selection committee’s choice for the four-team tournament was widely expected after the conference championship games on Friday and Saturday. However, Sunday’s rankings were responsible for arranging the matchups for the semi-final games on 31 December.
No. 1 Alabama will play No. 4 Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl, and No. 2 Michigan will meet No. 3 Georgia in the Orange Bowl.
The Southeast Conference then filled half the playoff ground, and a rematch of its championship showdown, where Alabama beat Georgia, is a possibility for the national title game. The Big Ten will also be delighted, especially about the opportunity to remind fans that Ohio State isn’t its sole power. And the American Athletic Conference, home of Cincinnati, will go down in history as the first Group of 5 league in which a team appears in the playoffs, making its debut in the 2014 season and replacing the Bowl Championship Series.
The Atlantic Coast Conference missed the playoff ground for the first time, while the Pac-12 Conference failed to qualify a team for the fifth consecutive season. The Big 12 Conference, which started the weekend with Oklahoma State in fifth place but then saw the Cowboys lose to Baylor in the league’s title game, will be absent for the second straight year.
under Alabama, Joe Coach Nick Sabano, has won Six national championships since 2009, enters the playoffs with the pace of his most recent game, in what has been his finest season ever. Alabama (12–1) advanced to the SEC championship game as the third-ranked team of the playoffs and opened that competition against Georgia, who were No. 1 at the time, slowly. But Bryce Young, now Alabama’s favorite to become his second consecutive Heisman Trophy winner, eventually threw for 421 yards and three touchdowns; He also ran against a Georgia defense that was better than any other in the Football Bowl subdivision.
Alabama struggled in November, when it won three games by a touchdown or less, and it Texas A&M. lost to In October. But Saturday’s demolition of Georgia’s perfect season on top of 11 other victories gave the Tide a chance to repeat as national champion. (Alabama Routed Ohio State In last season’s title game.)
But Alabama could have some trouble ahead. Saban indicated on Saturday night that John Machi III, who had 97 yards on eight catches against Georgia before injuring himself late in the first half, was likely to miss the playoffs.
Indeed, Michigan’s most illustrious football history came in the first half of the 20th century, and the Wolverines have not claimed a national title since. 1997 season, BCS and before the playoffs were used to determine the champion. But this year’s team has been more brutal than expected: The Wolverines didn’t make it to The Associated Press Top 25 Precision Poll.
They got injured as the playoffs were locked.
The defense that emerges from Ann Arbor deserves a lot of credit. Aidan Hutchinson has seen his NFL Draft stock rise with his sack count: 13½ this season, including three in Ohio State games. David Ojabo, Wolverine, who is second in the Big Ten in sacks, has recorded 11.
Haskins scored just 56 yards in 17 attempts against Iowa, but he also set Michigan’s record for touchdowns with 20 in a season.
“Nobody owes anything, nobody deserves anything,” said coach Jim Harbaugh, whose performance was marred at the end of last season. There are people around who attack everything the way they attack their school work, their practice, and they want to give it their best, so you get a good feeling that it’s going to happen.”
Georgia, the top-ranked team since the selection committee released its first rankings on November 2, came across the weekend as the safest bet for a place in the playoffs, where it last appeared in the 2017 season. Even falling in Alabama in such spectacular fashion was nowhere close enough to shrug off a season’s worth of work.
Every other top-tier Power 5 team has, after all, suffered at least one defeat.
Like Michigan, Georgia can thank its defense, its undeniable strength, during the 12-1 trip. A bunch of defenders, including Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean, have allowed an average of less than 10 points per game this season, the best in major college football. Georgia’s defense conceded approximately 254 yards in each outing, less than any other SEC team.
The offense has shown dazzling flashes—tight end Brock Bowers, for example, had 139 receiving yards in the game against Alabama—but Georgia’s ambition to advance in the title game is most likely a matter of whether its defense continues that form. could get what she had for almost the entire season.
Asked on Saturday how he might approach a possible rematch with Alabama, coach Kirby Smart said he needed to review the film from the game.
“The first answer would be: don’t leave people open,” he said. He continued: “Let’s cover them, and then try to win some one-on-ones and bring the balls down. Because look, now they’ll throw and complete the balls. They’re really good at doing that. Days. At the end of the year, you have to put a body on the body and cover them up. Some of the plays we gave were gifts.”
Cincinnati (13-0) experienced no more outrage as they beat Houston, 35-20, in the American League championship game on Saturday. It set a course for the playoffs in October, when they went on the road to beat Notre Dame 24–13.
The Bearcats have scored approximately 39 points per game and have an average of 429 yards of offense. Cincinnati quarterback, Desmond Ridder, had a game this year in which he passed three touchdowns, ran for a score And Caught a throw for another touchdown.
But the Cincinnati defense has been particularly strong and has allowed an average of 4 yards per game this season. Cincinnati’s opponents having scored a total of 25 touchdowns—the Bearcats scored 70—helped Cincinnati lock the conference lead for the fewest points allowed per game (16.1).
In An interview this season, Cincinnati coach Luke Fikel suggested that his team would not be distracted by playoff debates and whether it should field as a Group of 5 event.
“You control your destiny,” he said before the Notre Dame game. “I mean, your luck can’t go into the playoffs if you win every game. But you control it.”
In addition to the semi-final matchups that were made official on Sunday, the playoff committee also announced pairings for four other major post-season games.
10 Michigan State and No. 12 Pittsburgh in the Peach Bowl on December 30 in Atlanta, which won the ACC The Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., pitting fifth-ranked Notre Dame against No. 9 Oklahoma State. January 1st. Later on New Year’s Day, No. 6 Ohio State will meet the Pac-12 champion, No. 11 Utah, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. And that night, No. 7 Baylor, the winner of the Big 12 title, will take on eighth-place Mississippi at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.