For several weeks, fans and pundits argued over which four teams should make the College Football Playoff field. Various scenarios promised chaos and controversy on decision day. By Sunday, however, picking the four-team field to fight for the national championship became a no-brainer.
Alabama, Michigan, Georgia, and Cincinnati will play for a national championship after a conference title weekend that neatly clarified the field.
No drama in College Football Playoff selections
Alabama (12-1) defeated Georgia (12-1) in the SEC Championship to claim the No. 1 overall seed. Michigan (12-1) easily brushed aside Iowa in the Big Ten Championship to claim the No. 2 position, while Georgia slotted in at No. 3 after picking up its first loss of the year.
That left a potential battle for the final spot, as an undefeated Cincinnati (13-0) might have to contend with a one-loss Oklahoma State for a chance to play for a national championship. While the Bearcats took care of business against Houston, the Cowboys lost to Baylor in the Big 12 Championship, ending their hopes of winning a CFP committee argument for the No. 4 position.
|National Championship Odds (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
After the final seedings came in, Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell said he didn’t want to apply too much symbolism to his team’s accomplishments.
“All year we’ve tried to avoid saying we’re carrying the flag [for the Group of 5],” Fickell told ESPN. “I think you can get lost in a lot of things that are going on.”
Alabama favorite to win national championship
While there was little drama in the selection of the four teams that will compete for the national championship, the seedings were still uncertain heading into Sunday’s announcement. Both Alabama and Michigan could legitimately claim a No. 1 position. The committee gave the Crimson Tide the nod, due in large part to its dominant 41-24 win over Georgia.
“Not only did Alabama beat Georgia, but the way they beat them – they controlled the game, pretty much from start to finish,” CFP committee chair Gary Barta told ESPN.
Notre Dame (11-1) and Ohio State (10-2) finished No. 5 and No. 6 in the CFP rankings, respectively.
The seedings produced two intriguing semifinal matchups for the national championship. First, upstart Cincinnati will take on the leading program in all of college football in Alabama. The Crimson Tide rate as a 14-point favorite over the Bearcats, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
In the other national championship semifinal, the Michigan Wolverines face off against the Georgia Bulldogs. While Georgia played like the team to beat all season long, Michigan looked far better on Saturday, leaving plenty of questions over which team will emerge victorious when the two meet on Dec. 31. Still, the Bulldogs stand as an 8.5-point favorite.
Coming off their win over Georgia, Alabama now rates as the +120 favorite to win the national championship. The Bulldogs (+130) are nearly a co-favorite, with Michigan (+800) and Cincinnati (+1800) considered outsiders to contend for the title.