Alabama, Michigan, Georgia and Cincinnati advance to college football playoffs

You again, Alabama? How long has it been, Michigan? Good to see you, Georgia. This way for orientation, Cincinnati. The college foot...


You again, Alabama? How long has it been, Michigan? Good to see you, Georgia. This way for orientation, Cincinnati.

The college football playoffs selection committee announced on Sunday that these four schools – representing three conferences, 31 national championships won and plenty of hopes, hype and swear words – as the field that will vie for the title this season.

Left out without significant challenge: Clemson, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oklahoma, among the bluest of the Blue Bloods but programs that will be elsewhere on Jan. 10, when the championship game is played in Indianapolis.

The selection committee’s picks for the four-team tournament were widely anticipated after the conference championship games on Friday and Saturday. Sunday’s standings were, however, responsible for settling the clashes for the December 31 semi-final matches.

Alabama’s No.1 will face No.4 Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl, and No.2 Michigan will meet No.3 Georgia in the Orange Bowl.

The Southeastern Conference again filled half the field in the playoffs and a rematch of their championship showdown, where Alabama beat Georgia, is a prospect for the national title match. The Big Ten will also be thrilled, especially the opportunity to remind fans that Ohio State is not its only powerhouse. And the American Athletic Conference, home of Cincinnati, will go down in history as the first Group of 5 league to have a playoff team, which debuted in the 2014 season and replaced the Bowl Championship Series. .

The Atlantic Coast Conference missed the playoff pitch for the first time, while the Pac-12 Conference failed to qualify a team for the fifth straight season. The Big 12 Conference, which started the weekend with Oklahoma State ranked fifth but then saw the Cowboys lose to Baylor in the league title game, will be out for the second year in a row.

Alabama, which under Coach Nick Saban, won six national championships since 2009, enters the playoffs with momentum from his most recent game as his best of the season. Alabama (12-1) came into the SEC championship game as a third-seeded team in the playoffs and opened that game against the then No.1 Georgia slowly. But Bryce Young, now a favorite to become Alabama’s second in a row Heisman Trophy winner, ultimately pitched for 421 yards and three touchdowns; he also rushed for a Georgian one-on-one defense that had been better than any other in the Football Bowl subdivision.

Alabama struggled in November, when he won three games by one touchdown or less, and he lost to Texas A&M in October. But Saturday’s demolition of Georgia’s perfect season, in addition to 11 more wins, gave Tide a repeat as national champion. (Alabama Routed Ohio State in last season’s title game.)

But Alabama could have problems ahead. Saban reported on Saturday night that John Metchie III, who had 97 yards on eight catches against Georgia before an injury late in the first half, was likely to miss the playoffs.

Michigan (12-1) will make their first playoff appearance after harassing the Iowa, 42-3, in the Big Ten Championship Match. A week earlier, the Wolverines had Ohio state shot down for the first time in a decade.

Indeed, much of Michigan’s most illustrious football history dates back to the first half of the 20th century, and the Wolverines haven’t claimed a national title since. the 1997 season, before the BCS and playoffs were used to determine the champion. But this year’s squad has been a lot fiercer than expected: the Wolverines failed to make the cut in the Associated Press’s Top 25 preseason poll.

They ended up being a knockout lock.

The defense that came out of Ann Arbor deserves a lot of the credit. Aidan Hutchinson has seen his NFL Draft supply increase along with his sacks: 13½ this season, including three in the Ohio State game. David Ojabo, the Wolverine who is second in the Big Ten in sacks, recorded 11.

Hassan Haskins had just 56 yards on 17 attempts against Iowa, but he also set the Michigan record for touchdowns in a single season, with 20.

“Nobody owes anything, nobody is entitled to anything,” said coach Jim Harbaugh, whose performance was under siege at the end of last season. But, he added, “when you’re surrounded by a bunch of guys attacking just like they’re attacking their schoolwork, their training and wanting to be their best, you’ve got the right one. feeling it’s going to happen. “

Georgia, the highest-ranked team since the selection committee released their first standings on November 2, entered the weekend as the safest bet to advance to the playoffs, where they appeared for last time in the 2017 season. Even falling to Alabama in such a dramatic fashion was going to be nowhere near enough to drop a season’s worth of work.

After all, every other top Power 5 team has suffered at least one loss as well.

Like Michigan, Georgia can thank their defense, their undisputed strength on their 12-1 run. The defensive thicket that includes Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean has allowed an average of less than 10 points per game this season, a better one in major college football. The Georgian defense allowed about 254 yards on each outing, less than any other team in the SEC.

The offense showed flashes of dazzling – tight end Brock Bowers, for example, had 139 receiving yards in the game against Alabama – but Georgia’s ambitions to advance to the title game will most likely depend on the ability of his defense to regain the form it had. most of the season.

When asked on Saturday how he might approach a possible rematch with Alabama, coach Kirby Smart said he had to watch the movie of the match again.

He said, “The first answer would be, don’t let people out in the open. He added, “Cover them up, then let’s try to win some one-on-one and drop the balls.” Because look, now they’re going to throw and finish balls. They are really good at it. At the end of the day, you have to put a body on a body and cover them. Some of the coins we donated were freebies.

Cincinnati (13-0) experienced a far cry from heartburn on Saturday when it beat Houston, 35-20, in the American League Championship game. He had set a course for the playoffs in October, when he hit the road and beat Notre Dame, 24-13.

The Bearcats have scored about 39 points per game and are averaging 429 yards of attack. Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder has played in one game this year in which he had three touchdown passes, ran for a score and caught a throw for another touchdown.

But Cincinnati’s defense has been particularly strong, allowing an average of 4 yards per game this season. Opponents Cincinnati scored a total of 25 touchdowns – the Bearcats scored 70 – helping Cincinnati lock in the lead in the conference for the lowest points allowed per game (16.1).

In an interview this seasonCincinnati coach Luke Fickell had suggested his team would not be distracted by the playoff debates and whether or not they should enter the field as a Group of 5 program.

“You control your own destiny,” he said ahead of the Notre Dame game. “I mean, your fate might not go to the playoffs if you win every game. But you control it.

In addition to the semi-final games that were made official Sunday, the playoff committee also announced pairs for four other major playoff games.

The Peach Bowl on December 30 in Atlanta will feature the # 10 from Michigan State and # 12 from Pittsburgh, who won the ACC. January 1st. Later on New Years Day, the Ohio State No.6 will meet Pac-12 champion Utah No.11 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. And that night, No.7 Baylor, the Big 12 winner, will face eighth Mississippi at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Alabama, Michigan, Georgia and Cincinnati advance to college football playoffs
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