Crimson Tide join Clemson, Georgia, Oklahoma in CFP

Most intriguing individual matchups of the bowl season

No. 13 in the CFP rankings, sport one more loss than the Cougars, but appeared in the Pac-12 championship game. We'll see if that turns into lower TV ratings. He says football is so ingrained in USA culture that fans with no rooting interest still will watch. Many thought the Buckeyes were worthy of consideration for the College Football Playoff.

"They looked focused", said Thomas on Monday as he watched a replay of the ACC title game.

Sowell said he has no qualms about Clemson facing Alabama. Oklahoma is the outlier, a good day's drive west of Alabama.

"I think it's the ideal way to do it".

If these football players can handle the grueling nature of a large playoff bracket, it's safe to say FBS football players can survive an extra game.

Fast forward to 2017 and the debate to expand the playoffs is back in the news again after an Ohio State team that lost two games but won the B1G Ten was left out in favor of an 11-1 Alabama team that did not play in its conference championship game while also playing a relatively weak schedule. It was an intriguing topic, but an unrealistic one given 2014 was only the playoff system's first year in effect. At present, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is thought of as a stepchild of the SEC insofar as college football aristocracy, but with the recent success of Clemson, Florida State, Miami and others, the ACC is quickly establishing itself as one of the better power conferences.

Sam Darnold, Jake Russell and Jack Sears, USC: Darnold will quarterback the No. 8 Trojans against No. 5 Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl on Friday, Dec. 29 (5:30 p.m. on ESPN).

The Tide beat the Tigers in a classic national championship game in Glendale, Ariz., two seasons ago. "I never felt we didn't have control". "If there is live football and it's a big game that's on, people are watching".

What New Year's Day bowl game featured the only unranked top 25 teams in college football history?

Even though No. 7 Auburn lost three games this season, an even better case can be made for the Tigers.

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"It's good to have the SEC represented".

A lot of terminology has been spewed about which teams belong and which teams shouldn't, i.e. better, most-deserving, eye test.

"We didn't have any problem moving the ball against SEC defenses", Riley quipped on November 6, responding to a question about Big 12 criticism, and referencing the Sooners' 35-19 win over Auburn in last season's Sugar Bowl.

The Rose Bowl will be the ultimate contrast in styles.

Joked Riley of Stoops' talk to Georgia: "Hopefully he didn't give them too many of our secrets".

"The key for the Rose Bowl is that they're big, blue-blooded traditional college football programs", he said. Only this time, it will come on an even bigger stage. Not for a four-team playoff, an eight-team playoff or any type of playoff. "We'll have more people than usual in here for the playoff, but it won't be like it was a year ago".

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said he was not surprised that the Iowa loss cost the Buckeyes. But then how do you can explain Georgia's 23-point loss to a three-loss Auburn team?

Alabama made it 4-for-4 in the playoff, the only team that has made them all.

"We won't be rolling any Tides over here", Jones said.

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