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Alabama, Michigan, Georgia, Cincinnati earn football playoff bids

By Allen Cone
Alabama, Michigan, Georgia, Cincinnati earn football playoff bids
Alabama football players and their coach, Nick Saban, celebrate defeating Georgia to win the SEC title in Atlanta on Saturday. Photo courtesy University of Alabama athletics/Twitter

Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Alabama, Michigan, Georgia and Cincinnati received bids in the College Football Playoffs on Dec. 31, the College Football Playoff Selection Committee announced Sunday.

On New Year's Eve, No.1 Alabama (12-1) will square off against No. 4 Cincinnati (13-0) in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic in Arlington. Texas, at 3:30 p.m. EST, and No. 2 Michigan (12-1) and No. 3 Georgia (12-1) will face off in the Capital One Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens at 7:30 p.m., the committee announced.

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The championship will be played Monday, Jan. 10 in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The games will be televised on ESPN.

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Michigan hasn't participated in the four-team playoffs since it began in 2014-15, and Cincinnati is the first team not from a Power 5 Conference. Alabama won its 18th national title last year, and five of the last 11, defeating Ohio State in Miami Gardens, Fla., and Georgia lost to Alabama 26-23 in the 2017 championship in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

Michigan has claimed 11 national titles with the last one in 1997 and it was determined by polls.

The Bowl Championship Series title was determined by only two teams from 1998-2013.

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Georgia earned titles in 1942 and 1980.

It's the second time two teams from one conference received bids for the four-team playoffs.

Alabama defeated Georgia 41-24 to capture the Southeast Conference title in Atlanta on Saturday.

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"Not only did Alabama beat Georgia, but the way they beat them -- they controlled the game, pretty much from start to finish," CFP selection committee chair Gary Barta said on the ESPN show announcing the pairings.

Michigan routed Iowa 42-3 for the Big Ten title in Indianapolis and Cincinnati beat Houston 35-20 in the American Athletic Conference in Cincinnati.

It was Cincinnati's second straight New Year's Six bowl appearance.

Alabama's only loss was 41-38 against host Texas A&M with a 24-22 four-overtime victory over Auburn one week ago.

Michigan lost to host Michigan State 37-33 on Oct. 30

Notre Dame (11-1) and Ohio State (10-2) finished fifth and sixth in the rankings.

Notre Dame will play Oklahoma State (11-2) in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Day and Ohio State will be in the Rose Bowl, also on New Year's Day against Utah (10-3).

Notre Dame's last game was a 45-14 victory over Stanford on Nov. 27, and school's only loss was 24-13 to Cincinnati. Ohio State was beaten by host Michigan on 42-27 after losing to visiting Oregon 35-28 on Sept. 11.

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Oklahoma State's hopes for a spot in the playoffs were dashed with a 21-16 loss in the Big 12 final to Baylor (11-2) in Arlington, Texas.

In the Pac-12, Utah beat Oregon (10-3) for the title in Las Vegas, 38-10, and a spot in the Rose Bowl.

The two other top tier bowl games are the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta on Dec. 30 drawing Michigan State (10-2) and Pitt (11-2), and the All-State Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on New Year's Day with Baylor and Mississippi (10-2).

In all there are record 42 bowl games, not including the national chamionship.

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