Georgia, Michigan, Texas Christian and Ohio State have made the College Football Playoff, giving the Big Ten multiple programs in the four-team field for the first time.
Georgia, the defending national champion and ranked No. 1, faces fourth-seeded Ohio State on Dec. 31 at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta. No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 TCU at the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, the same day.
The winners advance to the national championship game Jan. 9 at Sofi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Georgia and Michigan opened as the favorites to reach the title game.
The playoff features the defending national champion, two Big Ten powers — Michigan and Ohio State — and an upstart in TCU that wasn’t even expected to contend in its conference this season.
With some drama, but not much controversy, the CFP selection committee’s top four fell into place over championship weekend. The most interesting part of the unveiling was whether the committee would pair Michigan and Ohio State in the semifinals and whether Alabama might be able to slip in as the first two-loss playoff team.
In the end, the committee sprung no surprises.
Committee chairman Boo Corrigan, the athletic director at North Carolina State, said Ohio State’s wins against Penn State and Notre Dame helped push the Buckeyes in over Alabama.
“As we looked at the total body of work, the committee was comfortable with Ohio State State at No. 4 and Alabama at 5,” he said. Corrigan also said the committee did not make any special effort to avoid having a rematch of Ohio State and Michigan in a semifinal.
The rest of the New Year’s Six bowls were also set:
- Tennessee vs. Clemson in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30.
- Alabama vs. Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl on Dec. 31.
- Tulane vs. Southern Cal in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 2.
- Utah vs. Penn State in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2.
Georgia (13-0), which won the Southeastern Conference championship game in a rout, is a 6 1/2-point favorite against Ohio State, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Michigan (13-0), the Big Ten champ, is favored by 9 1/2 points over TCU.