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College football: Championship weekend to craft bowl schedule

Quarterback Ian Book and Notre Dame look to cement their spot in the College Football Playoff semifinals when they take on Clemson in the ACC Championship game Saturday. File Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI
Quarterback Ian Book and Notre Dame look to cement their spot in the College Football Playoff semifinals when they take on Clemson in the ACC Championship game Saturday. File Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Eight college football bowl matchups are set, but most remain in limbo because some teams have opted out of the postseason due to COVID-19, and other top programs await championship weekend results.

Alabama landed at No. 1 in Tuesday's latest announcement of the College Football Playoff rankings. Notre Dame is No. 2, followed by No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Ohio State.

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The top four teams in the College Football Playoff rankings at the end of the season will make the cut for two semifinal matchups. The winners from those games then will meet in the College Football Playoff National Championship game.

Notre Dame and Clemson will battle in one of the most significant matchups of championship weekend. The Fighting Irish (10-0) and Tigers (9-1) will meet in the ACC Championship game at 4 p.m. EST Saturday in Charlotte, N.C.

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Notre Dame, which beat Clemson on Nov. 7, would cement its spot in the semifinals with a victory, but still could sneak in with a loss.

Clemson, which played without start quarterback Trevor Lawrence in its previous matchup against the Irish, could slip out of the College Football Playoff picture with a loss.

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Alabama (10-0) will battle No. 7 Florida (8-2) in the SEC Championship game at 8 p.m. EST Saturday in Atlanta. The Crimson Tide also would cement its spot in the semifinals with a victory, but still could make the semifinals with a loss.

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The Gators are on the outside of the College Football Playoff semifinals picture and likely would need a win over Alabama, a win by Notre Dame and additional help from other teams for a chance make the semifinals.

No. 4 Ohio State will take on No. 14 Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship game at noon EST Saturday in Indianapolis. A win by the Buckeyes would confirm their spot in the semifinals, while an Ohio State loss would allow another lower-ranked team to enter the picture.

No. 5 Texas A&M (7-1), No. 6 Iowa State (8-2), No. 8 Georgia (7-2) No. 9 Cincinnati (8-0) and No. 10 Oklahoma (7-2) also landed inside the Top 10 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings.

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Iowa State will play Oklahoma in the in the Big 12 Championship game at noon EST Saturday in Arlington, Texas.

Some of the top teams, such as Georgia, No. 11 Indiana, No. 16 Iowa, No. 18 Miami and No. 20 Texas, have had their regular-season finales canceled due to issues with COVID-19.

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No. 13 USC was to play Washington on Saturday in the Pac-12 Championship game, but the conference announced Monday that Oregon will replace Washington in that matchup due to COVID-19 issues within the Washington program.

Stanford, Virginia, Pittsburgh and Boston College are among the teams that have declined postseason opportunities due to COVID-19.

The 2020 Frisco Bowl, scheduled for Dec. 19, was canceled on Tuesday after SMU withdrew from the planned game against UTSA due to COVID-19 issues within its program. UTSA will now play in the Dec. 26 First Responder Bowl.

The Pinstripe Bowl, LA Bowl, Sun Bowl, Redbox Bowl, Hawaii Bowl, Bahamas Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Quick Lane Bowl and Las Vegas Bowl are among the other bowl games that have been canceled.

The final College Football Playoff rankings will be released Sunday. The Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl will be the respective College Football Playoff semifinal matchups Jan. 1. The National Championship game will be held Jan. 11.

College football bowl schedule -- All times Eastern

Dec. 21

Myrtle Beach Bowl: Appalachian State vs. North Texas at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN

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Dec. 22

Potato Bowl: Tulane vs. Nevada at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN

Boca Raton Bowl: USC vs. BYU at 7 p.m. on ESPN

Dec. 23

New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana Tech vs. Georgia Southern at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN

Montgomery Bowl: Memphis vs. Florida Atlantic at 7 p.m. on ESPN

Dec. 24

New Mexico Bowl: Hawaii vs. Houston at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN

Dec. 25

Camellia Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN

Dec. 26

Gasparilla Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at noon on ABC

Cure Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at noon on ESPN

First Responder Bowl: UTSA vs. TBD at 3:30 p.m. on ABC

LendingTree Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN

Independence Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at 7 p.m. on ESPN

Guaranteed Rate Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at 10:15 p.m. on ESPN

Dec. 28

Military Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN

Dec. 29

Cheez-It Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN

Alamo Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at 9 p.m. on ESPN

Dec. 30

Duke's Mayo Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at noon on ESPN

Music City Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN

Cotton Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at 7:15 p.m. on ESPN

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Dec. 31

Armed Forces Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at noon on ESPN

Arizona Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at 4 p.m. on CBS

Liberty Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at 4 p.m. on ESPN

Texas Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at 8 p.m. on ESPN

Jan. 1

Birmingham Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at noon on ESPN2

Peach Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN

Citrus Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at 1 p.m. on ABC

Rose Bowl (CFP semifinal): TBD vs. TBD at 5 p.m. on ESPN

Sugar Bowl (CFP semifinal): TBD vs. TBD at 8:45 p.m. on ESPN

Jan. 2

Gator Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at noon on ESPN

Outback Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at 12:30 p.m. on ABC

Fiesta Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at 4 p.m. on ESPN

Orange Bowl: TBD vs. TBD at 8 p.m. on ESPN

Jan. 11

CFP championship: TBD vs. TBD at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

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