The third College Football Playoff is set for the 2016 season. The postseason picture is crystal clear after Championship Saturday. Which teams are in?
Semifinal No. 1 – Fiesta Bowl
Date: Dec. 31
Location: Glendale, Arizona
Tie-ins: CFP No. 2/CFP No. 3
Fiesta Bowl Projection: No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Ohio State
The Tigers claimed consecutive league titles for the first time in 28 years, as Dabo Swinney and Co. are in the four-team College Football Playoff for the second straight year after defeating Virginia Tech in the ACC title game on Saturday night. Can Deshaun Watson and the Tigers finish the job this time around after falling to Alabama in the national championship game last season? Remember that the Tigers had the Crimson Tide on the ropes before Nick Saban and Co. won another national title.
Meanwhile, the Buckeyes did not win the Big Ten East division, losing a head-to-head tiebreaker to Penn State, which defeated Wisconsin in Indianapolis last night but fell short of the CFP. However, Urban Meyer’s squad beat Oklahoma on the road and have wins over Wisconsin and Michigan. The body of work shows that the Buckeyes were deserving of this spot despite not being a conference champion.
Semifinal No. 2 – Peach Bowl
Date: Dec. 31
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Tie-ins: CFP No. 1/CFP No. 4
Peach Bowl Projection: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Washington
Another year, another SEC title for the Crimson Tide. Saban’s squad dismantled Florida in the SEC title game in Atlanta, and now the Tide will head to the College Football Playoff for the third year in a row. Alabama is seeking its second straight national title and fifth national championship in the last nine years. Saban has five national titles in his career, and he is one shy of Bear Bryant’s record for the most by any head coach. Because he has a complete team that has dominated in all three phases of the game, can anyone stop the Tide?
Meanwhile, the Huskies were able to slip into the four-team national semifinals after claiming the Pac-12 crown with a win over Colorado this past Friday night. It was U-Dub’s first conference title since 2000. Jake Browning struggled throwing the ball against the Buffaloes, but the Huskies had 265 yards on the ground, and the defense stepped up. The non-conference slate did not hurt U-Dub, which could hang with Alabama for a bit because it is also a team that is strong in all three phases.