Clemson, Alabama, Michigan State, Oklahoma named playoff finalists

DeShaun Watson

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson smiles as he celebrates a touchdown during fourth quarter of the ACC championship game in North Carolina on Dec. 5.

(Jeff Siner / Tribune News Service)

Controversy has shrouded college football for as long as it has been played.

There have been seasons of split championships and raging last-minute arguments, but this season wasn’t one of those.

There were no big surprises Sunday morning when the College Football Playoff selection committee announced Clemson, Alabama, Michigan State and Oklahoma as the four finalists.

Clemson finished No.1 in the final ranking and earned a New Year’s Eve national semifinal matchup against No. 4 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.


Alabama finished second and will play No. 3 Michigan State on New Year’s Eve at the Cotton Bowl.

The winners play Jan. 11 for the national title in Glendale, Ariz.

Clemson seeks its first national title since 1981 as it plays an Oklahoma team it crushed in last year’s Russell Athletic Bowl.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban faces a Michigan State team he once coached.


Major controversy was avoided Saturday when all the favorites pulled out victories. Clemson survived a bad offsides call at the end of its eight-point win over North Carolina, but the 13-0 Tigers emerged as the only undefeated team on the FBS level.

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