Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State will one day be a Final Jeopardy answer or maybe the winning answer to a bar bet, as the College Football Playoff committee announced the Crimson Tide, Ducks, Seminoles and Buckeyes as the participants in the first College Football Playoff at the FBS level.
Sugar Bowl: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Ohio State, January 1, 2015, New Orleans, Louisiana, 8:30pm ET
The No. 1 ranked Crimson Tide will travel to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans for a matchup with the No. 4 ranked Ohio State. The Crimson Tide have looked dominant for most of the season, only losing a 23-17 decision in Oxford to Ole Miss. That early loss, however, kept Alabama out of the playoff picture until they defeated No. 1 Mississippi State 25-20 in Tuscaloosa in November. Ever since that win, Alabama has sat at the top of the rankings.
Ohio State, the Big Ten champion, survived losing by 14 points to Virginia Tech at home to hold off No. 5 Baylor and No. 6 TCU.
An interesting note about the Crimson Tide and their coach Nick Saban is that of Saban's previous four national championship teams, only one (2009) managed to go undefeated. His other three (LSU-2003, 2011, and 2012) all dropped a contest during the regular season.
Rose Bowl: No. 2 Oregon Ducks vs. No. 3 Florida State, January 1, 2015, Pasadena, California, 5:00pm ET
The No. 2 ranked Oregon Ducks will also find themselves in a familiar place as they travel to the Rose Bowl to take on No. 3 Florida State. The Ducks enter the playoffs as another strong team with only one loss. That loss came at home to Arizona by a score of 31-24, but Oregon more than avenged that loss by destroying the Wildcats 51-13 in the Pac-12 Championship game at Levi Stadium.
The Seminoles will have the longest trip to make of any of the teams playing for that national championship.
The winners of the semifinals will meet in the National Championship Game on Jan. 12 at 8:30pm ET at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Top Four By the Numbers:
1. The Mississippi State Bulldogs were the first team to occupy the top-spot in the College Football Playoff Rankings. They held that spot for three weeks before losing to Alabama.
1. The number of teams to have been in the top-four ever week of the rankings. That team? Florida State. The Seminoles have not yet held the top position in the rankings.
2. Number of conference champions not making the playoff field.
3. The number of SEC teams in the first ranking: No. 1 Mississippi State, No. 3 Auburn, and No. 4 Ole Miss.
4. Number of SEC teams to crack the top-four spots this season: Mississippi State, Alabama, Auburn, and Ole Miss.
8. Number of teams to find a spot in the top-four during the season. In addition to the four SEC teams, TCU, Florida State, Oregon, and Ohio State all cracked the list as well.