Alabama makes College Football Playoff, learns opponent
Alabama football players woke up Sunday as SEC champions, their spot in the College Football Playoff secure.
Shortly after noon Sunday, the Crimson Tide learned their seed and opponent.
No. 2 seed Alabama (12-1) will play No. 3 seed Michigan State at 8 p.m., ET, Dec. 31 in the Cotton Bowl. No. 1 Clemson will play No. 4 Oklahoma on Dec. 31 in the Orange Bowl.
The semifinal winners advance to the championship game at 8:30 p.m., Jan. 11, in Glendale, Ariz.
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Alabama secured its return to the playoffs with a punishing performance in the SEC Championship Game.
The Crimson Tide ran a season-high 57 times in a 29-15 victory over Florida.
The Crimson Tide debuted at No. 4 in the playoff poll but were No. 2 in each of the subsequent weeks. They remained No. 2 in the Week 15 AP Poll and in the Coaches Poll as well.
Michigan State (12-1) clinched its playoff spot in dramatic fashion, driving 82 yards on 22 plays for a game-winning touchdown to beat Iowa 16-13 in the Big Ten Championship.
The Spartans beat a ranked Oregon early in the season, won at Michigan on a last-second fumbled punt, handed Ohio State its only loss and then did the same to Iowa on Saturday night.
Michigan State started at No. 7 in the first playoff poll this season.
The Spartans are 49th nationally in scoring (32.1 points), led by QB Connor Cook, who threw 24 TD passes and just five interceptions.
He’ll challenge an Alabama secondary that doesn’t allow many passing touchdowns.
Alabama coach Nick Saban coached the Spartans from 1995-99 before leaving to become LSU’s coach.