So which teams are headed to the College Football Playoff?
The final four was announced Sunday, and Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma and Michigan State will be vying for the championship title. These teams don’t come as much of a surprise, but the order might.
Michigan State jumped ahead of Oklahoma to land the third spot after they beat the Iowa Hawkeyes in the last few seconds of Saturday’s Big Ten championship game. In last week’s rankings, Clemson was No.1, Alabama No.2, Oklahoma No.3 and Michigan State No. 5. Iowa stood at No. 4–what a heartbreaking loss.
Those four teams will play for the national championship in the coming weeks. The two national semifinals–the Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas in which Michigan State will face Alabama and the Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. in which Clemson will face Oklahoma–will take place on Dec. 31.
The matchups were chosen by the College Football Playoff committee based on rankings, according to the NCAA.
The winners of those games will compete for that coveted national championship title on Jan. 11 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
This is the second year that a four-team Playoff has been featured, according to the New York Times, and the 18th year that a college football postseason meant to name a national champion has been featured, a stretch that began in 1998 with the introduction of the Bowl Championship series.
After Iowa’s loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship, Clemson is the only undefeated team in the country. Followed by some big wins over Notre Dame in October, Florida State in November and North Carolina Saturday night, the Tigers easily earned the top spot.
College Football Playoff committee chair Jeff Long said on ESPN’s selection show that “Clemson is clearly the No. 1 team in the nation.”
This the second year in a row that Clemson will play Oklahoma in a bowl game, which is rare. The Sooners lost big to Clemson in the Citrus Bowl last year (40-6), but the Sooners are back and better than last year.
Since Oklahoma lost to Texas on Oct. 10, they’ve averaged 52 points per game, including wins over Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State, and they went on to win the Big 12 regular season championship, NCAA reported.
Meanwhile, Alabama and Michigan State have only competed against one another once in their history, which resulted in a 49-7 win for Alabama. Both teams are 12-1 after winning their conference championships on Saturday.
Ohio State (No. 4 in 2014) took the title last year after defeating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and beating Oregon in the CFP championship game.