The Clemson Tigers are “in” – again. For the sixth straight season, head coach Dabo Swinney’s squad has earned a spot in the College Football Playoff (CFP) – a streak unmatched by any program in the nation (including Alabama, which appeared in five straight CFPs between 2014-2018).
The Crimson Tide (11-0) earned their sixth overall CFP appearance with a win over Florida in the SEC championship game on Saturday – drawing the No. 1 seed in the four-team playoff.
Head coach Nick Saban’s team will play fourth-seeded Notre Dame (10-1) in the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. EST. That game will be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas due to concerns about rising cases of the coronavirus pandemic in southern California.
Clemson, the second seed in this year’s playoff, will go up against third-seeded Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl on January 1 at 8:00 p.m. EST. That game will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The winners will face off at 8:00 p.m. EST on January 11, 2021 in the national championship game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.
All three games will be televised nationally by ESPN.
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(Via: Clemson Football)
Odds makers have installed Clemson as a 6.5-point favorite over the Buckeyes (6-0), while Alabama has opened as a 17.5-point favorite over Notre Dame – which was thrashed on Saturday by Clemson in the ACC championship game.
Clemson’s dominating performance over the Irish left many of the opinion that No. 5 Texas A&M should have been awarded the fourth and final playoff spot. Instead, the Aggies (8-1) must settle for a date with No. 13 North Carolina in the Orange Bowl – the first-ever meeting between those programs.
Meanwhile, a pair of undefeated teams – Cincinnati (9-0) of the American Athletic Conference and Coastal Carolina of the Sun Belt Conference – were also left out of the playoff. The Bearcats and Chanticleers finished No. 8 and No. 12 in the final rankings, respectively.
Clemson (10-1) has now earned a playoff spot each year dating back to the 2015 season – drawing the No. 1 seed twice (2015 and 2017), the No. 2 seed three times (2016, 2018 and 2020) and the No. 3 seed once (2019).
The Tigers are 6-3 all-time in CFP games, winning national championships following the 2016 and 2018 seasons and advancing to the championship game following the 2015 and 2019 seasons. The only time Clemson has failed to make the championship game was after the 2017 season – when the top-seeded Tigers were defeated by Alabama in the semi-final round.
Clemson and Alabama share the CFP record for most overall appearances (6), wins (6), championship game appearances (4) and titles (2). The two programs have faced each other three times in the championship game, with Clemson winning twice.
No other program has made the title game more than once …
The CFP selection process has drawn extensive criticism this year, with critics claiming it was created to protect programs that compete in one of the NCAA’s top five – or “Power Five” – conferences.
“It is a corporate welfare organization that takes care of Power Five interests, nothing more,” noted Dick Harmon in a column for Deseret News. “It isn’t a competitive answer to a collegiate national championship … (i)t isn’t reasonable or fair and doesn’t pretend to be.”
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