NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The playoff pairings are in. And really, there can’t be too many arguments, can there?
Clemson (13-0) finishes No. 1 in the College Football Ranking and will play No. 4 Oklahoma (11-1) in one playoff semifinal, the Orange Bowl on Dec. 31.
Alabama (12-1) finishes No. 2 in the final ranking, and will play No. 3 Michigan State (12-1) in the other semifinal, the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 31.
The winners will play for the national championship on Jan. 11 in Glendale, Arizona.
Alabama and Clemson won conference title games on Saturday night and held their ranking. Michigan State handed Iowa its first loss in the Big Ten title game to move into the playoffs, while Oklahoma had already completed its season and held on for the final playoff spot.
Jeff Long, chairman of the CFP selection committee, says the decision was easy to select the top four teams for the College Football Playoff, calling Clemson “clearly the No. 1 team in the country.”
Perhaps the biggest debate was Michigan State finishing ahead of Oklahoma.
Long said the committee spent most of its time discussing Spartans-Sooners, mentioning that both teams are conference champs and have wins over Top 25 teams. He pointed out Michigan State has two wins over top 10 teams plus a win over the No. 4 team (Iowa) on Saturday night.
He said the Spartans’ “body of work was just slightly ahead of Oklahoma.”
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