Playoff pairings: Clemson-Oklahoma; Alabama-Michigan State

By December 6, 2015December 7th, 2015Sport

Top-seeded Clemson will play No. 4 Oklahoma at the Orange Bowl and No. 2Alabama gets No. 3 Michigan State at the Cotton Bowl in the New Year’s Eve semifinals of the College Football Playoff.

The selection committee revealed the pairings for its second playoff Sunday, a day after the top teams eliminated any controversy about who should be in the final four. The only real debate was the order.

Clemson (13-0) has been No. 1 since the committee began its rankings the first week of November, and committee chairman Jeff Long said that theTigers were clearly No. 1 in the final rankings. As the top seed, the Tigers get to play as close to home as possible. The Tigers and Sooners (11-1) met in Russell Athletic Bowl last season and Clemson won 40-6.

”Last year’s game, people will talk about that, but it really doesn’t mean anything,” Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said in an interview with ESPN.

Clemson and Oklahoma have split four meetings, dating back to 1963.

Alabama (12-1) began its season at AT&T Stadium in North Texas against a Big Ten team (Wisconsin) and returns to face another in Michigan State (12-1). The Tide and Spartans have played only once, with Alabama winning the Capital One Bowl 49-7 after the 2010 season.

Oklahoma was No. 3 last week after it finished its regular season as the Big 12 champion, but Michigan State’s Big Ten championship game victory over previously unbeaten Iowa pushed the Spartans past the Sooners in the end.

Long said bumping Michigan State past Oklahoma had nothing to do with avoiding the possibility of having the Sooners play close to home in the Dallas area.

And that was it for drama, if you could call it that. A big difference from last season, when the committee had to choose from Ohio State, Baylor and TCU, and ticked off the Big 12 by jumping the Buckeyes past Bears and Frogs in the final rankings.

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