Big 12

Oklahoma fills final spot on College Football Playoff bracket

The College Football Playoff bracket is set, and Oklahoma is in.

The Sooners, who won the Big 12 Championship by beating Texas on Saturday and finished 12-1, was the selection committee’s final choice over Georgia and Ohio State.

The national semifinals are set: top-ranked Alabama against the No. 4 Sooners in the Orange Bowl and second-seeded Clemson against No. 3 Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl. Those games will be played Dec. 29.

The CFP Championship Game is Jan. 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, Calif.

Georgia was ranked fifth and Ohio State No. 6.

The Big 12 gets a team in the playoff for the third time in five years. Oklahoma has been the team each time, and the Sooners seek their first CFP victory.

This marks the second straight year a team from the Big Ten and Pac-12 failed to make the bracket. Ohio State had the best chance this year, after beating Northwestern on Saturday to win the Big Ten title with a 12-1 overall record.

But the Buckeyes couldn’t overcome a 29-point loss at Purdue in late October.

The committee excluded Georgia, which lost to Alabama 35-28 in the SEC championship game. The Bulldogs fell to 11-2 but led the top-ranked Crimson Tide for most of the game.

No two-loss team has been selected to the College Football Playoff.

A non-conference champion was selected last year — Alabama. But this season Georgia also had a regular-season loss at LSU, by three touchdowns. Coach Kirby Smart made a passionate plea to include the Bulldogs after Saturday’s loss.

But Georgia, which lost to the Crimson Tide in last season’s CFP title game, won’t get that chance.

Either Alabama or Clemson has been the No. 1 seed in all five years of the playoffs. But a top seed has never won the championship. Ohio State (2014) and Alabama (2017) won as No. 4 seeds. The Crimson Tide (2015) and Clemson (2016) were second seeds.

College Football Playoff fields through the years

2014: Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, Ohio State*

2015: Clemson, Alabama*, Michigan State, Oklahoma

2016: Alabama, Clemson*, Ohio State, Washington

2017: Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia, Alabama*

2018: Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Oklahoma


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Blair Kerkhoff

Blair Kerkhoff covers the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals and college sports for The Star.