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('BamaMag members get 10% off their entire package)That said, the committee probably got it right for the inaugural College Football Playoff. Alabama, obviously, is not complaining. The Crimson Tide of Coach Nick Saban, 12-1 and champions of the Southeastern Conference, held on to its number one seed after defeating Missouri, 42-13, in Saturday’s Southeastern Conference Championship Game.
Others in the final four are No. 2 Oregon, No. 3 Florida State, and No. 4. Ohio State. The first round playoff games will have Bama vs. the Buckeyes in the Sugar Bowl at 7:30 p.m. CST on January 1. Prior to that at 4 p.m. CST will be Oregon vs. FSU in the Rose Bowl.
The championship game will be January 12 at Dallas Cowboys Stadium – the Jerry Dome – in Arlington.
The teams on the outside looking in were Big 12 co-champions Baylor and TCU. It was unusual in that TCU was third in the final poll before conference championship games on Friday and Saturday and odd also for Baylor, which beat TCU but was not ranked ahead of the Frog Horns until the final poll.
There was some delicious irony for Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. It seems his teams were left out of the final four because they didn’t play a good enough non-conference schedule (and perhaps because he hasn’t arranged for a conference championship game as the other power five conferences have). Bowlsby was a member of the infamous NCAA Basketball Tournament selection committee that left Alabama – runner-up in the SEC – out of the 2001 NCAA Tournament because it didn’t like Bama’s non-conference schedule.
CFP Selection Committee Chairman Jeff Long, athletics director at Arkansas, said that Ohio State was a clear-cut choice for number four – just as Alabama had been clear-cut for number one, Oregon for number two, and FSU for number three.
Alabama Coach Nick Saban said, “I think our players are excited to be one of the teams to play in the final four.
“We knew we would be facing an excellent team. I know Urban (Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer) is an excellent coach and they have a great team.”
Saban reiterated his appreciation for the 2014 Crimson Tide being perhaps his favorite team. “This is a special team in the way it has progressed,” he said. “It is ironic that we started the season in Atlanta and then finished regular season in Atlanta and how much we progressed from that first game to the SEC Championship Game.”
He cited “team chemistry, hard work, and perseverance” by his players.
And, Saban said, “We wanted to win the SEC Championship so we would have this opportunity.”
Saban said his team would prepare for Ohio State as it would for any January 1 bowl game. But the coaching staff will also prepare scouting reports on Oregon and Florida State in the event Bama beats Ohio State and moves on to the national championship game.
And the Tide staff has some recent experience in that methodology. Going to the final game of the season Bama did not know if it reached the SEC Championship Game if Alabama would be playing Missouri or Georgia. The staff prepared scouting reports on both and when Alabama started work for the SEC Championship Game it had a scouting report and practice plan ready.Other SEC teams making the CFP top 25 were Mississippi State seventh, Ole Miss ninth, Georgia 13th, Missouri 16th, Auburn 18th, and LSU 23rd.