The College Football Playoff Committee officially announced the 2021 playoff field on Sunday during the CFP Selection Show on ESPN.
Top-ranked Alabama and No. 4 Notre Dame are set to play in the Rose Bowl Game in Dallas and No. 2 Clemson will travel to New Orleans to face No. 4 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl.
Questions loomed throughout the weekend about whether the Buckeyes deserved a spot in the final four despite playing just six games this season. CFP Chairman Gary Barta told ESPN’s Rece Davis that the committee gave Ohio State the benefit of the doubt because of their resumé regardless of the short season in the Big Ten.
“The committee decided that Ohio State deserved to be on the field because they are undefeated, they had beaten two ranked teams throughout the year including last night and they won their Big Ten Championship,” Barta said. “That’s why the committee decided and certainly we have talked since the beginning of the year that there would be a differential in the number of games played but, in the end,, it came down to the committee feeling strongly that undefeated, beating those ranked teams and winning a conference championship.”
The Buckeyes defeated No. 14 Northwestern 22-10 in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday and also defeated No. 11 Indiana 42-25 on Nov. 21.
At the end of the day, the conference championship and undefeated record set the Buckeyes apart from other undefeated and two loss teams.
“There has been discussion along that you have undefeated Alabama and undefeated Ohio State and Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina and San Diego State,” Barta said. “We knew all along it would be a problem and we tried to address it all along the way. There was not dissention in the room about naming Ohio State in that third spot.”
The stage is now set for another matchup between Clemson and Ohio State after last year’s classic in the CFP Semifinal Game at the Fiesta Bowl. The game is set for New Year’s Day at the Sugar Bowl at 8 p.m. in New Orleans.