Alabama ranked No. 4, gets rubber match against Clemson


The Buckeyes were on the outside looking in of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee's final top four, losing out on that critical fourth spot to 11-1 Alabama - which did not win its division, much less conference championship. However, their losses to Oklahoma (31-16 at home) and Iowa (55-24 on the road) haunt them.

The Tigers have faced Alabama in each of the past three seasons.

There was visible surprise on the ESPN set when the rankings were released as most thought Ohio State would get the call.

This is the third straight postseason meeting between Alabama and Clemson. The No. 1 Tigers and No. 4 Tide will meet (likely) in the Sugar Bowl. This is their lowest final ranking in the playoff era, after entering the playoff ranked No. 1 in 2014 and 2016, and No. 2 in 2015.

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A year ago, a one-loss Ohio State team made it to the playoff ahead of Big Ten champion Penn State, which had two losses.

Realistically, Ohio State probably wouldn't have won the national championship this year, but there was a lot riding on this decision. The Crimson Tide, on the other hand, lost last weekend to their rival Auburn and didn't even make their conference championship game.

-Going 5-2 against bowl teams is easily the worst mark of any Playoff team ever. It's Oklahoma's second playoff appearance. Saturday was the Bulldogs' first SEC title since 2005 and they're probably rewarded with the team's first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1943. "So, even though we didn't win the game, there's a physical toll that a good football team takes on another team, even if they don't win the game".