Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Sport | By Ruben Hill

College Football Playoff semifinals best bets

College Football Playoff semifinals best bets

The game - played in Arlington, Texas, at AT&T Stadium - will determine who faces off against the victor of Alabama and Oklahoma, who will play on the same day in Miami in the Orange Bowl.

The weighty decision was Oklahoma (12-1), Georgia (11-2) or Ohio State (12-1) for the final spot, and the committee got it right with the Sooners. The Fighting Irish lost to the Crimson Tide in the BCS national championship game in 2012. You went with the team who won a conference championship and not a team the football people in the room thought would win head-to-head. "Every combination was vetted, looking at their full body of work, their resumes side-by-side".

"There was a lot of debate about Oklahoma, Georgia and Ohio State", said OR athletic director Rob Mullens, the committee chairman. "So we went with the one-loss conference champion". The strengths of record were nearly equal between Georgia and Oklahoma, and Oklahoma earned a conference championship to boot, a very important distinction in the committee's eyes.

"Oklahoma was ranked No. 4 because they're a one-loss conference champion with a dynamic offense, and their one loss was a close game to a ranked team at a neutral site. If the best thing you can say about Georgia is that they played Alabama really, really tough, that is not enough for me".

Despite calls from some that the College Football Playoff should be expanded from four to at least eight teams, executive director Bill Hancock told ESPN there's been no talk of expansion.

While Clemson has been a mainstay in the College Football Playoffs, Notre Dame hasn't had title hopes since their 2012-2013 season. The Knights will put their 25-game winning streak on the line against another SEC team after beating Auburn in the Peach Bowl last season. Alabama is vying for its second straight national championship and the sixth of the last decade under head coach Nick Saban.

The committee didn't buy it and stayed with the one consistent data point throughout the five years of playoff selections: No team with more than one loss has ever made the playoff.

The national semifinal will be the first meeting for the teams since that October 2015 game, when Clemson won 24-22 at home while playing in heavy rains from Hurricane Joaquin as it hit the East Coast.

Georgia and Ohio State were the first two teams left out of the postseason tournament.

However, many folks who cover college football for a living didn't agree with the rankings. "What it comes down to is four quarters of good football".

Georgia (11-2) now awaits Sunday's announcement of the four-team playoff field. You can only see them over at SportsLine. Along the way they also knocked off Oklahoma in the regular season, though, and acquitted themselves nicely against the playoff-bound Sooners in the rematch.

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