Chalk pulled through the mess in the last College Football Playoff rankings of the year.
There were no shocking upsets, no insurgent to crack the top 4…and, when all was said and done, no Alabama in the playoffs.
As expected, defending champion Georgia (13-0) remained No. 1 after the Bulldogs beat LSU 50-30 in Saturday’s SEC championship game, while undefeated Michigan (13-0) remained No. 2 after beating the Wolverines Purdue, 43-22, in the Big Ten’s title game.
Despite some intrigue, TCU (12-1) stayed in 3rd place after losing to Kansas State 31-28 in overtime in the Big 12 title game.
Ohio State (11-1) jumped from 5 to 4 after Utah beat then-No. 1. 4 Southern Cal in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night.
No. 1 Georgia gains home field advantage by taking on No. 4 Ohio State in a national semifinal at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta on Dec. 31 (8 p.m.) while No. 2 Michigan meets No. 3 TCU in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale , Arizona (4 p.m.)
The national championship game is scheduled for January 9th at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.
It’s the fourth time a conference has sent two teams into the playoffs. The Big Ten’s only championship in this format occurred when Ohio State defeated Oregon in 2015 in inaugural year.
Alabama (10-2), who has won three national championships in the current format, finished in 5th place and will face Big 12 champion Kansas State (10-3) in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on December 31. Nick Saban’s team didn’t win the SEC West, losing to an LSU team that now has four losses and had no history in its favor: A two-loss team has never made the playoffs.
“When we looked at the overall work, the committee was happy with Ohio state at 4 and Alabama at 5,” committee chairman Boo Corrigan said on ESPN.
When asked if the possibility of a rematch between Ohio State and Michigan in a potential 2-3 game played a role in Ohio State being seeded 4th, Corrigan said, “It really wasn’t discussed. Our goal was to get the four best teams right.”
Saban told ESPN that his team didn’t have bad losses, while some other teams did. He pointed out that his team’s two losses — in Tennessee and at LSU — totaled 4 points and that his quarterback, defending Heisman Trophy champion Bryce Young, was struggling with a shoulder injury.
Still, he told ESPN’s Mardy Smith, “We’re absolutely national championship caliber.”
But these arguments did not go down well with the committee.
“I’m looking at a team from Alabama that has two losses, they’re not even in this conversation for me,” ESPN’s Booger McFarland said on air Sunday morning. “The only reason they’re participating in this conversation is because of their story and what we’ve seen from Alabama.”
Despite his loss on Saturday, TCU owns a win over Big 12 champion Kansas State that’s better than anything Alabama or Ohio State have on their résumé.
“There was also a lot of respect in that room for the state of Kansas and for this win [by TCU over Kansas State in the regular season] kind of won the day for TCU to be the No. 3 team,” Corrigan said.
TCU went 4-1 against the top 25 teams while Ohio State won 2-1.
“We shouldn’t be penalized for getting to the Big 12 Championship,” said TCU coach Sonny Dykes told reporters after losing overtime.
“We were number 3 last week and I hope we stay at 3 and serve and see how we do,” he added.