This year however they'll meet in the semifinals at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Jan. 1 at 7:45 p.m. CST.
The Hawkeyes hammered Ohio State 55-24, and the black mark on the Buckeyes' resume was too much for the playoff committee to overlook. Alabama was a slight favorite over Clemson and Oklahoma, with Georgia trailing behind those three teams.
The Southeastern Conference has two teams in the playoff, this is the first time two teams from the same conference will be featured in the final four.
Alabama and Clemson have collided in each of the past two national title games, splitting those matchups, while Georgia and Oklahoma have never met.
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The Buckeyes beat an undefeated Wisconsin team in the Big Ten Championship on Saturday.
College football fans: I hope you're ready for Alabama-Louisiana Lafayette next season, because the College Football Playoff committee just gave the green light for more snoozers like that one.
However, after Auburn and Wisconsin lost, that changed the landscape of the four best teams in the nation. Georgia put itself in position to make the playoff after a road win over Notre Dame in Week 2 and with the exception of their loss to the Tigers, the Bulldogs rolled through SEC play, winning by an average of 29 points in their seven regular season SEC victories. While the loss to Iowa State was a shocker at the time, the Cyclones finished the regular season with a respectable 7-5 record.
It was a point Saban made during his Saturday night politicking on ESPN. "I think our efforts to play more conference games, to schedule up to a reasonable degree, to reduce the number of mismatches should serve us well".