College Football Playoff final four: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Washington

Alabama is the team to beat in this year’s College Football Playoff.
(Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

The College Football Playoff issued its final rankings Sunday morning, naming the top four teams that will vie for the national championship.

No surprise that undefeated Alabama retained the No. 1 spot.

No mystery about No. 2 Clemson — which clinched the Atlantic Coast Conference title Saturday — or No. 3 Ohio State, a selection committee favorite in recent weeks.

The big question surrounded the No. 4 spot, where Washington edged out No. 5 Penn State and No. 6 Michigan.


The Huskies had only one loss and a Pac-12 crown, but faced questions about their strength of schedule.

Penn State had two losses, but captured the Big 10 title with a stirring comeback over Wisconsin on Saturday night. The Nittany Lions also own perhaps the most impressive victory of the season with a win at Ohio State.

Two-loss Michigan was also in the running but dropped two of its last three games.

The 12 men and women of the CFP selection committee reportedly debated into the late hours on Saturday and returned to work at 8 a.m. EST on Sunday.


Here are the top bowl-game matchups (all times PST):

Peach Bowl (CFP semifinal): No. 1 Alabama (13-0) vs. No. 4 Washington (12-1), noon, Dec. 31

Fiesta Bowl(CFP semifinal): No. 2 Clemson (12-1) vs. No. 3 Ohio State (11-1), 4 p.m., Dec. 31

Orange Bowl: No. 6 Michigan (10-2) vs. No. 11 Florida State (9-3), 5 p.m., Dec. 30

Cotton Bowl: No. 15 Western Michigan (13-0) vs. No. 8 Wisconsin (10-3), 10 a.m. Jan. 2

Rose Bowl: No. 9 USC (9-3) vs. No. 5 Penn State (11-2), 2 p.m., Jan. 2 

Sugar Bowl: No. 7 Oklahoma (10-2) vs. No. 14 Auburn (8-4), 5:30 p.m., Jan. 2


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12:35 p.m.: This article has been updated with bowl matchups and game times.

It was originally published at 9:15 a.m.

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