The Oklahoma Sooners finished their season with a Big 12 championship and a 12-1 straight-up record, fending off No. 5 Georgia and No. 6 Ohio State for the final spot in the College Football Playoff.
"We're just excited to be in the playoffs", Clemson coach Dabo Swinney told ESPN. "It was an unbelievable game". This is a great field and in all probability will yield a true national champ, but in all fairness four teams this year is simply not enough. The game, played in a hurricane, ended in a 24-22 loss for Notre Dame. There are four unbeaten teams, yet one (UCF) missed the playoffs.
On a day when bowl invitations were announced, neither Sooners nor Cowboys knew where they were headed. The Cotton Bowl is played at AT&T Stadium, which has a retractable roof.
Clemson is making its fourth College Football Playoff appearance with a new bowl experience against a first-timer in the four-team playoff.
However, Clemson's defense may give the Irish offense trouble, with the Tigers' front four dominating all season.
"They've been a model of consistency". Alabama-Georgia was the second-highest rated SEC Championship Game since the format debuted in 1992. Now we've got to go accomplish something.
The Tide are 14-point favorites in in the latest Alabama vs. Oklahoma odds, and the Tigers are laying 11.5 in the current Clemson vs. Notre Dame odds. The bowl last served as a semifinal three years ago, when Alabama beat Michigan State 38-0. "I've been in college football for a long time, and I've never had the opportunity to experience the Cotton Bowl, but know a lot of people who had and said what a great experience it is".
Oklahoma: 20th appearance in the Orange Bowl, 52nd bowl game overall.
The first answer came a little before noon Sunday - the playoff selection committee ranked the Sooners fourth and set up a December 29 showdown with the top-ranked Crimson Tide. The other two matchups are fairly awful, as Alabama would likely beat Washington by three touchdowns, at least, and Clemson would demolish UCF, especially with the Knights missing their dynamite QB McKenzie Milton.
No. 2 Clemson will take on No. 3 Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl as part of the College Football Playoff Semifinals.
The Big Ten champion Buckeyes (12-1) will face Pac-12 champion Washington (10-3) in the 105th edition of the Rose Bowl. The winners of the two semis will meet in the National Championship Game in Santa Clara, California on Jan 7th.