Monday, January 17th, 2022

College Football Playoff: Alabama, Michigan, Georgia and Cincinnati make top 4


The College Football Playoff will feature Alabama, Michigan, Georgia and Cincinnati, the selection committee revealed Sunday.

No. 1 Alabama will play No. 4 Cincinnati and No. 2 Michigan will play No. 3 Georgia. The semifinals will kick off on Dec. 31 with the national championship on Jan. 10.

The final rankings came out after the conference championship games were played Saturday. Alabama beat an undefeated Georgia team to win the SEC, Michigan trounced Iowa to win the Big Ten title and Cincinnati remained undefeated in his AAC victory over Houston.

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Notre Dame and Ohio State were ranked Nos. 5 and 6 respectively.

Alabama was on the ropes of even making the Playoff this season after losing to Texas A&M during the year and going into the SEC title game against a dominant Georgia team. Behind an incredible performance from Bryce Young, Alabama was able to beat Georgia.

Nick Saban thanked the skeptics for their so-called “rat poison.”

Alabama defensive back Jordan Battle (9) celebrates his interception and touchdown against Georgia during the second half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Atlanta.

Alabama defensive back Jordan Battle (9) celebrates his interception and touchdown against Georgia during the second half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Atlanta.
(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

“I think what these guys really wanted to gain was more respect,” the legendary college football coach said, via ESPN. “Not just the fact that they were underdogs, because I think we had a tremendous amount of respect for Georgia, their team and what they accomplished. But you guys gave us a lot of really positive rat poison. The rat poison that you usually give us is usually fatal, but the rat poison that you put out there this week was yummy.”

Alabama has won the national championship in the College Football Playoff era three times. The 2022 version of the college football postseason will be their seventh appearance.

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Michigan finally broke through and win the Big Ten Championship and will enter the College Football Playoff for the first time. Jim Harbaugh rallied his team to a conference title even after suffering a loss to Michigan State. Now, a national championship hangs in the balance.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh celebrates with his team after the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Indianapolis. Michigan won 42-3.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh celebrates with his team after the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Indianapolis. Michigan won 42-3.
(AP Photo/AJ Mast)

“We defied all expectations,” Aidan Hutchinson said after the win. “Nobody ever thought we could do this, especially this season and we did it — in dominant fashion.”

Georgia will get in even after losing to Alabama in the SEC title game. The Bulldogs dominated mostly every opponent they played and were No. 1 in the AP rankings for most of the season.

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) calls audible against Alabama during the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Atlanta.

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) calls audible against Alabama during the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Atlanta.
(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Georgia’s defense looked dominant until it was exposed by the Crimson Tide. Kirby Smart will have to refocus the team and get set for a run to the national championship. The Bulldogs have only made the Playoff once and eventually lost to Alabama in the national championship.

Cincinnati becomes the first Group of Five team to make the College Football Playoff. The Bearcats finished the season undefeated and have a win over Notre Dame to compliment their resume.

Cincinnati's Bryon Threats (10) celebrates after defeating Houston in the American Athletic Conference championship NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati’s Bryon Threats (10) celebrates after defeating Houston in the American Athletic Conference championship NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Cincinnati.
(AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

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“The resounding statement is what we did on that football field. Nobody is going to call and ask us what we think. I don’t think these guys can be denied that opportunity. It would be a shame,” Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell said.