The College Football Playoff Selection Committee unveiled matchups for its four-team field Sunday, pitting No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Notre Dame, and No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Ohio State.
The CFP's final 2020 rankings represent the culmination of a unique challenge in 2020, in which the committee had to compare teams that did not play the same number of games. Ohio State played just its sixth game of the season Saturday in a Big Ten Championship Game win over Northwestern, due to coronavirus-related cancellations. As well, Notre Dame's lopsided loss to Clemson Saturday in the ACC title game gave rise to consideration for an 8-1 Texas A&M team that the committee ranked fifth. Ultimately, however, the Fighting Irish became the first team to get a CFP spot after losing a conference championship game.
Oklahoma (8-2) was ranked sixth. Cincinnati (9-0) made a case for a CFP bid as undefeated champions of the American Athletic Conference.
"In the end the committee felt like Notre Dame earned its way there, based on the complete analysis of their resume," said selection committee chairman Gary Barta, who is the athletic director at Iowa, "and that probably came down to having an additional win against a ranked team."
On Saturday, CFP executive director Bill Hancock announced that the semifinal game scheduled to be played in the Rose Bowl will move to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, due to a rise in COVID-19 cases in Southern California. Alabama and Notre Dame will play in that game. Both semifinals -- the other will be the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans -- will be played New Year's Day. The winners will play for the national championship a week later, Jan. 8, at 8 p.m. ET in Miami's Hard Rock Stadium.
Alabama commanded the top seed after beating Florida, 52-46, in the SEC title game Saturday night, completing an 11-0 season. Ohio State is unbeaten as well (6-0), while Clemson and Notre Dame each carry a loss, to one another, into the playoff.