Videos by OutKick
In the end, there was no chaos.
Everything happened as most expected Sunday in the final College Football Playoff rankings to decide the national semifinal games on Dec. 31.
It will be No. 1 Georgia (13-0) versusthe No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1) in the national semifinal in Atlanta on Saturday, Dec. 31 (8 p.m., ESPN), at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the Peach Bowl.
The other semifinal will be No. 2 Michigan (13-0) against No. 3 TCU (12-1) in Glendale, Arizona, at State Farm Stadium in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 31 (4 p.m., ESPN).
Ohio State lost its last game in deflating fashion, 45-23, to Michigan at Ohio Stadium on Nov. 26, but all was not lost. The Buckeyes edged Alabama (10-2) for the No. 4 spot Sunday after jumping up from No. 5. That was because previous No. 4 USC lost, 47-24, Friday to No. 11 Utah in the Pac-12 title game. Alabama finished No. 5 with Tennessee (10-2) at No. 6.
“Hard to explain the range of emotions that have gone on the last seven days,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said after the rankings were announced. “But we saw our name go up there on the board and know that we’re to have an opportunity to play. It’s like a second lease on life.”
Ohio State Buckeyes Overcame Michigan Loss
Ohio State’s loss to Michigan was the second in a row. That had not happened since 1999-2000. It was also Ohio State’s first home loss to Michigan since 2000 when John Cooper was the Buckeyes’ coach.
“A couple days ago, we were on life support a little bit – our season was,” Day said. “And now, there’s a two-game season ahead of us.”
The Big Ten put two teams in the CFP final four for the first time. The four-team playoff format began in 2014 and will move to 12 teams in the 2024 season. Alabama is not in the CFP final four for just the second time.
The previous time Alabama failed to reach the playoffs was the 2019 season when it was also 10-2 at this point.
TCU also lost its last game – in overtime to Kansas State, 31-28, on Saturday in the Big 12 title game. But the Horned Frogs still stayed in the CFP over Alabama because of their strength of schedule and record, much like Ohio State.
College Football Playoff Ignores Conference Title Games
This proved that often conference championship games are meaningless from the playoff perspective. Had Georgia and Michigan each lost the SEC and Big Ten title games Saturday, each would have still been in the CFP final four.
The semifinal winners advance to the national championship game on Jan. 9 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California (7:30 p.m., ESPN).
The New Year’s Six Bowls will be announced later Sunday along with other bowl matchups.