Ohio State finishes second in College Football Playoff rankings, will meet Clemson
Second-seeded Ohio State will play No. 3 Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinals at 8 p.m. on Dec. 28 at the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, the CFP selection committee announced on Sunday.
The other semifinalists are top-seeded LSU and No. 4 Oklahoma, who will meet at 4 p.m. on the same day at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta.
The two semifinal winners will meet for the national championship at 8 p.m. on Jan. 13 in New Orleans.
The Buckeyes entered the weekend ranked No. 1 because the 13-member committee said it considered them the most complete team in college football. Ohio State hadn’t trailed by more than six points until Wisconsin took a 21-7 halftime lead in the Big Ten championship game Saturday night in Indianapolis.
The Buckeyes outscored Wisconsin 27-0 in the second half for a 34-21 victory. Afterward, they lobbied to retain the No. 1 spot in the ranking.
“I think when you look at our resume, beating Wisconsin when they’re a top-10 team twice in one year, and then again this three-game stretch was unlike I think any team has had in the country,” coach Ryan Day said, referring to late regular-season wins over Penn State and Michigan.
But the other two undefeated teams – LSU and Clemson – had lopsided conference championship victories, putting the Buckeyes’ top spot in jeopardy. No. 2 LSU routed No. 4 Georgia 37-10 in the Southeastern Conference title game and No. 3 Clemson rolled past No. 23 Virginia 62-17 for the Atlantic Coast Conference championship.
Earning the No. 1 spot is significant because it meant avoiding a semifinal matchup with Clemson, the defending national champion and winner of 28 consecutive games.
Oklahoma earned the No. 4 spot by beating Baylor 30-23 in overtime in the Big 12 championship.
The Buckeyes had opened first in the CFP rankings, on Nov. 5. LSU gained the No. 1 spot the next week after beating Alabama and held the position for two weeks.
But Ohio State regained No. 1 after its 11-point victory over Penn State on Nov. 23 and held it after a 29-point win at Michigan a week later.