The usual suspects are headlining the 2021 College Football Playoff.
On Sunday, the selection committee announced a final top four of Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Notre Dame in what is college football’s semifinal ahead of the National Championship Game.
Alabama, the No. 1 seed, will face No. 4 Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl, which will be played in Arlington, TX after the game was moved from Pasadena because of COVID-19 restrictions in California.
In the other semifinal, No. 2 Clemson, will meet No. 3 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl down in New Orleans.
The matchup provides a meeting of two of the best quarterbacks in the game as Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields are expected to go 1-2 in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Since the start of the College Football Playoff during the 2014-15 season (seven years), Alabama and Clemson have been selected six times, Ohio State five times, and Notre Dame twice.
The familiar foursome continues to create controversy about the selection process as smaller programs and “Group of Five” schools outside the usual power conferences continue to get the short end of the proverbial stick.
While Alabama (11-0) and Clemson (10-1) were expected entrants, Ohio State was selected despite playing in just six games this season while Notre Dame was blown out 34-10 in the ACC Championship Game at the hands of Clemson on Saturday.
Alabama missed the playoff last season while Clemson has made all its appearances in consecutive years.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati — who plays in the American Athletic Conference — went 9-0, won their conference outright and did not even crack the top six, which was rounded out by No. 5 Texas A&M (8-1) of the SEC and Oklahoma (8-2) of the Big 12.
Another Group of Five squad that was on the outside looking in was Coastal Carolina of the Sun Belt Conference. The Chanticleers went 11-0 on their way to the best season in program history.