Sunday afternoon, the College Football Playoff committee sat down for the final time this year and mapped out the 2021 CFP. Following a Championship Saturday in which chaos never ensued, we knew which four teams would be vying for the National Championship, but the order of the four teams was still up for debate.
Now we know, with No.1 Alabama, No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Georgia, and No. 4 Cincinnati selected to play in the semifinals with a chance to play for the National Championship on January 10th in Indianapolis.
THE CFP STAGE IS SET 🏆
— ESPN (@espn) December 5, 2021
The semifinals will take place on December 31, with Alabama and Cincinnati playing in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, and Michigan and Georgia facing off in the Capital One Orange Bowl.
The big story is Cincinatti coming in at No. 4, becoming the first non-Power 5 school to make the CFP in the eight-year history of the playoff format. The Bearcats turned on the jets in the second half of the American Athletic Conference Championship game, defeating Houston 35-20 to finish the regular season 13-0.
“We went toe to toe with them for as long as we could,” Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “They are first-class and deserving of top four. I don’t know how you keep Cincinnati out.”
Both Alabama and Michigan soundly won their conference championship games, setting up a debate on who should be number one.
“Not only did Alabama beat Georgia, but the way they beat them — they controlled the game, pretty much from start to finish,” CFP selection committee chair Gary Barta said on ESPN.
Alabama dismantled the best defense in the country, finishing the night with 536 total yards of offense. Quarterback Bryce Young may have wrapped up the Heisman with his performance, throwing for 421 yards and three touchdowns, while head coach Nick Saban moved to 4-0 against Kirby Smart.
Michigan thoroughly dominated Iowa in the BIG 10 Championship Game, allowing them to stay at No. 2 while Georgia dropped to No. 3.
“The beginning of the year, the odds, I don’t know whatever it was — it was 2% likely we’d win the Big Ten championship,” Michigan offensive lineman Andrew Vastardis said. “That was preseason predictions. I don’t know how it works out, but we believe in each other. We believe in ourselves, but there’s always a little external motivation. So internally motivated, bring each guy along, but sometimes just some of the stuff that’s out there, you just take it and ride with it and fuel the fire.”
Georgia will get another opportunity due to their dominant regular season, but many questions will come from their first loss of the year. Before Saturday night’s game against Alabama, 387 yards was the most Georgia’s defense had allowed in a single game. Alabama had 365 yards in the first half.
Smart and the Bulldogs will attempt to regroup after another loss to Alabama, with a rematch against the Crimson Tide a possibility in the national championship game.
“It didn’t do any damage,” Smart said after the loss. “What it did was reinvigorate our energy. It re-centers you, right? Their greatest thing is when [the Tide] lost their game against Texas A&M, they garnered some focus and some attention. To me, that’s an opportunity for a wake-up call, if anything.”
Notre Dame — who recently hired defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman as head coach — lands just outside the top-four at No. 5, and Ohio State comes in at No. 6.
Take a look at the complete College Football Playoff selection committee rankings below.
- Notre Dame
- Ohio State
- Ole Miss
- Oklahoma State
- Michigan State
- Wake Forest
- NC State
- Louisiana Lafayette
- San Diego State
- Texas A&M
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to email@example.com.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.