The college football playoff team revealed a four-team playoff field on Sunday, with Alabama topping the standings, followed by Clemson, Ohio State and Notre Dame.
Why play Alabama in Arlington instead of the Sugar Bowl? For the benefit of more fans, college football playoff selection committee chairman Gary Barta told ESPN.
“Related to this year’s uniqueness, the team’s No. 1 team may have the benefit of the doubt or the biggest benefit,” Barta said. “In this case, we know 16,000 fans can watch the game in Arlington, and we know there’s going to be 3,000 fans watching the game in New Orleans. We were able to see more fans playing for the No. 1 team.”
The National Championship is set to take place on January 11 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Garden, Florida.
Texas A&M ranks 5th
Just outside the playoffs was Texas A&M in 5th place. The Aggies, who went 8-1, lost to Alabama earlier in the season and did not reach the Southeast Convention Championship game.
What gave Notre Dame a 34-10 win over Clemson on Saturday in the title match of the Atlantic Coast Conference – a hand against Texas A&M?
“Very similar biodata, but in the end the team felt like it had got its way based on a thorough analysis of the Notre Dame application, and it could have been an additional win against a ranking team,” Barta said. Aggies’ signature win was against Florida, while Notre Dame beat Clemson and North Carolina in the regular season.
Oklahoma (8-2) advanced to sixth place after winning the Big 12 Championship game. Cincinnati, the champion of the American Athletics Conference, dropped out of the top six despite a 9-0 record and three wins against the rankings. Bear Gates is in eighth place behind Florida.
This season, the team evaluated teams that have played six games and 11 matches – with conferences such as the Big Ten beginning in late October and conferences like the Pac-12 in early November. Big 12, SEC and ACC launched in September.
Alabama beat Florida Saturday to win the SEC title 52-46. Ohio State, despite dropping 22 players, lost 22-10 to Northwest in the Big Ten Championship game.
Barta said there was no disagreement in the room about putting Ohio State in that third place despite playing in six games.
“The team decided that Ohio State had joined the field because they were losers, they had beaten two ranking teams throughout the year, including last night, and they had won the Big Ten Championship.”