Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, Ohio State Make College PlayoffErik Matuszewski
Alabama, Oregon, Ohio State and defending national champion Florida State grabbed the four spots in the inaugural College Football Playoff, while Texas Christian and Baylor were left out.
Alabama (12-1) will face Ohio State (12-1) in one national semifinal and Oregon (12-1) plays Florida State (13-0) in the other. Both semifinals -- the Rose and Sugar bowls -- are scheduled for Jan. 1, with the winners advancing to the Jan. 12 national championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Alabama, which won national titles in three of the past five seasons under the previous Bowl Championship Series, remained No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings for the fourth straight week after beating Missouri 42-13 yesterday in the Southeastern Conference championship game.
Florida State’s victory in the BCS championship game a year ago ended the SEC’s run of seven straight national titles.
Oregon, which avenged its only loss of the season with a 51-13 rout of Arizona in the Pacific 12 title game, remained second in the rankings for the fifth week in a row.
Ohio State jumped into the playoff, climbing to fourth from fifth after yesterday’s 59-0 rout of then-No. 13 Wisconsin in the Big Ten Conference title game. A week after losing quarterback J.T. Barrett to a broken ankle, the Buckeyes got three touchdown passes from Cardale Jones, who had entered the season as the third-string signal-caller.
TCU (11-1) capped its season with a 55-3 win over Iowa State yesterday, yet dropped out of the top four in the final ranking. Baylor (11-1) finished fifth, leaving the Big 12 Conference without a representative in the playoff.
Baylor, which dealt TCU its lone defeat of the season, 61-58 in Waco, Texas, on Oct. 11, yesterday defeated Kansas State 38-27 in a clash of top-10 teams.
Florida State is the lone unbeaten team in the four-school playoff and stayed perfect by holding on for a 37-35 win over Georgia Tech yesterday to capture the Atlantic Coast Conference crown. Seven of the Seminoles’ wins came by six points or less, including each of their final four games, and last week the defending champions had been passed by TCU in the rankings.
The playoff participants were determined by a committee of current and former coaches, athletic directors and administrators, including Condoleezza Rice and Tom Osborne. Rankings had been updated every Tuesday since Oct. 28.
The committee ranked the top 25 each week based on five main criteria -- conference championships, strength of schedule, head-to-head matchups, records against common opponents and the impact of injuries.
The playoff selection committee had gathered in Dallas to watch yesterday’s games.
West Virginia University Athletic Director Oliver Luck, a former NFL player and the father of current Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, is also on the committee. Other current athletic directors in the group include Barry Alvarez of Wisconsin, Pat Haden from Southern California, Jeff Long of Arkansas-Fayetteville and Dan Radakovich at Clemson. Former coach Tyrone Willingham is also on the committee, which also includes ex-Big East Conference commissioner Mike Tranghese, former NCAA vice president Tom Jernstedt, former U.S. Air Force Academy superintendent Mike Gould, and Steve Wieberg, who spent more than 30 years as a college football writer for USA Today.
ESPN signed a 12-year contract in November 2012 to televise the College Football Playoff and select other games for an average $470 million annually, or $5.6 billion for the duration of the contract.
The NCAA’s five major conferences -- the Big Ten, Big 12, Pacific 12, SEC and ACC -- will each receive a minimum of $50 million for their participation in the playoff system, up from about $27.9 million last year, the final season of the BCS. The other five conferences in college football’s top division will split a baseline total of $75 million. Last year, four of those conferences shared $13.2 million.