Alabama is in, and Big Ten champion Ohio State is out for the College Football Playoff.
The CFP selection committee revealed its final rankings Sunday, setting national semifinal pairings of No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Georgia in the Rose Bowl. Those games will be played on Jan. 1. The winners of those matchups will meet in the national championship game on Jan. 8 in Atlanta.
The Buckeyes were ranked No. 5, and Wisconsin, which lost to OSU on Saturday in the Big Ten title game, was No. 6 in the final rankings.
There was little drama in the rankings reveal on Sunday aside from the selection for the No. 4 spot, which was the subject of rampant speculation and debate leading up to the announcement of the final rankings. Clemson, Oklahoma and Georgia, who each have one loss apiece, were all considered locks to make the playoff after they won their conference-title games on Saturday.
The fourth spot came down to a decision between a two-loss Big Ten Champ in Ohio State or a one-loss Alabama team that was idle on Saturday after losing to Auburn a week earlier in the Iron Bowl.
"The selection committee just favored Alabama's full body of work over that of Ohio State and it was consistent over the course of the year," said selection commmittee chair Kirby Hocutt after the rankings were revealed on Sunday. "... (Ohio State's resume) was impressive, but it wasn't enough for the selection committee to place them over Alabama."
Hocutt cited Ohio State's 31-point loss to unranked Iowa as "damaging." The Buckeyes' other loss came against Oklahoma. Alabama's lone loss was a 12-point defeat against Auburn, the No. 7 team in the final rankings.
As for the playoff matchups, the Oklahoma-Georgia game will be a big test for the likely Heisman Trophy winner, Sooners QB Baker Mayfield, who'll be up against the best defense he's faced all season. Alabama and Clemson will meet for the third straight postseason after squaring off in the national championship game in each of the past two seasons, with the programs splitting those two games. This year's Clemson-Alabama battle will feature two of the top six defenses in the FBS.
The entire order of the College Football Playoff selection committee rankings: