Alabama joins Clemson, Oklahoma and Georgia in playoff

Alabama joins Clemson, Oklahoma and Georgia in playoff

The Crimson Tide received the nod over Ohio State and can play Clemson within the School Soccer Playoff on Jan. 1 within the Sugar Bowl. Oklahoma and Georgia will meet within the Rose Bowl semifinal a number of hours earlier.

Tide or Buckeyes was the query dealing with the choice committee, the hardest name within the four-year historical past of the playoff.

The Tide had been extra constant and misplaced simply as soon as. The Buckeyes misplaced twice, together with an embarrassing 31-point beating at unranked Iowa, however have the extra spectacular set of victories. Ohio State received the Huge Ten whereas Alabama didn’t even win its Southeastern Convention division.

The committee rolled with the Tide, and for the primary time the playoff will embody two groups from the identical convention. Alabama joins SEC champion Georgia and an all-SEC title recreation is feasible.

Committee chairman Kirby Hocutt mentioned the Iowa loss weighed Ohio State down and the Buckeyes weren’t shut sufficient to the Tide for the Huge Ten championship end result – a 27-21 win over beforehand unbeaten Wisconsin – to matter.

“As we noticed Alabama play week in and week in out, the choice committee believed Alabama was the higher soccer group,” Hocutt informed ESPN. “Once we checked out Ohio State, once you checked out their resume it was spectacular however it wasn’t sufficient for the choice committee to position them in above Alabama.”

Alabama (11-1) made it Four-for-Four within the playoff, the one group that has made all of them. And for the third straight season, faculty soccer will get an Alabama-Clemson matchup within the playoff, although this time within the semifinals.

The Tide beat the Tigers in a traditional nationwide championship recreation in Glendale, Arizona, two seasons in the past. The groups performed one other thriller final season and Clemson took the title in Tampa, Florida.

Clemson (12-1) is making its third straight playoff look, however first with out star quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Tigers received one other Atlantic Coast Convention championship with Kelly Bryant because the quarterback.

Georgia (12-1) and Oklahoma (12-1) have by no means performed. The Bulldogs have surged of their second season underneath coach Kirby Good. After successful eight video games final season, Georgia received the SEC for the primary time since 2005.

Oklahoma is within the playoff for the second time and can probably carry the Heisman Trophy winner. Quartreback Baker Mayfield is the favourite to win the award subsequent weekend. If that’s the case, Mayfield would be the third participant to go from successful the Heisman on to the playoff, becoming a member of Oregon’s Marcus Mariota in 2014 and Alabama’s Derrick Henry in 2015.

The Alabama-or-Ohio State debate was the trickiest of the playoff period. Most gifted or most achieved? Neither group neatly matched precedent. Ohio State made it to the playoff with out even enjoying in its convention title recreation final season, however these Buckeyes had a extra convincing resume, with three victories towards top-10 groups. Alabama couldn’t match that.

Not solely had no group ever made the playoff with two losses, however none had as ugly a stain on its resume as Ohio State’s 31-point loss at Iowa. Tide coach Nick Saban talked about it Saturday evening on ESPN as the choice committee went to work for the final time this season.

That probably the most controversial playoff choose but got here down to those two groups made it an excellent juicer plotline. Alabama has dominated faculty soccer for a decade since Saban took over. Ohio State is without doubt one of the few groups to interrupt the Tide’s championship machine through the Saban period, beating the Tide within the semifinals in 2014 on the best way to a nationwide title.

They’re two of faculty soccer’s flagship packages, wealthy in each custom. Additionally, they’re the groups the remainder of faculty soccer likes to hate, the groups that all the time appear to get the good thing about the doubt within the rankings.

Neither had a slam dunk case. Within the High 25 launched earlier Sunday, Alabama was fourth by a mere seven factors over No. 5 Ohio State. Not that that issues. The committee’s course of shouldn’t be the identical of the normal polls.

The panel of 13 contains former and present athletic directors, together with the athletic director from Ohio State, and former coaches. They break groups into tiers, rank them, debate them and infrequently rank them repeatedly till a consensus is fashioned.

In 2014, followers of TCU and Baylor had been upset when Ohio State jumped the Texas colleges on championship weekend. Final 12 months, Ohio State was concerned in a little bit of an argument once more when it did not win its convention however received in. The ultimate spot got here all the way down to Penn State and Washington and the Huskies received out.


Comply with Ralph D. Russo at


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