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Georgia, Michigan, T.C.U. and Ohio State Are Playoff Semifinalists


Saban, though he wouldn’t name a team that he thought his team should leap, looked as if it would point less on the Horned Frogs than at Ohio State.

It’s hard to know if Saban was really talking to the committee — or simply attempting to mollify his fan base, which could be justifiably grumpy that a team that just about won a second consecutive championship last season in a rebuilding yr couldn’t even get out of the SEC West with a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and a star-studded defense.

One point that Saban made does carry some historical weight: A blowout loss late within the season often is a harbinger of what lies ahead. An exception could have come last yr when No. 1 Georgia was beaten handily by Alabama within the SEC championship game, 41-24, but got into the playoff because the No. 3 team, bulldozed Michigan in a semifinal, and avenged the defeat to Alabama within the title game.

But within the 2020 pandemic season, Notre Dame was blown out by Clemson within the A.C.C. championship game and was no match for Alabama in a semifinal.

In 2003, Oklahoma was throttled by Kansas State within the Big 12 championship game, 35-7, and was given a berth within the Bowl Championship Series title game, which it lost to Louisiana State in a defensive struggle. That season, U.S.C., whose only defeat was in extra time at Cal and its then-unheralded quarterback Aaron Rodgers, was omitted. When the Trojans convincingly beat Michigan within the Rose Bowl, they were awarded the writers’ vote by ending atop the Associated Press poll.

And in 2001, Nebraska was clobbered by Colorado, 62-36, in its regular-season finale, but was given a berth within the title game, where it was no match for Miami. Although one-loss Oregon was second in all three polls, it was omitted since it suffered in the pc rankings that were a component of the B.C.S.

This doesn’t augur well for Ohio State, which was routed at home against its rival Michigan two week ago, surrendering 252 yards rushing in a 45-23 loss.

But any person has to play the defending champion, Georgia, in what’s near a house game in Atlanta, and so the committee decided the Buckeyes would.

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