The Ohio State Buckeyes have made the College Football Playoff again.
The Bucks, who finished at 6-0 and won the Big Ten Championship in a 22-10 victory over Northwestern on Saturday, were ranked third in the final College Football Playoff rankings on Sunday, and will play second-ranked Clemson (10-1) in the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day in New Orleans.
This will be the third time in five seasons the Buckeyes will play Dabo Swinney's squad in the Playoff semifinals and the second time in the Ryan Day era in Columbus. Last year's Fiesta Bowl saw the Tigers win 29-23 to advance past the Buckeyes to the national championship final (2016's Fiesta Bowl saw Clemson win 31-0).
As for the other Playoff matchup, top-seeded Alabama (11-0) will take on fourth-ranked Notre Dame (10-1) in the Rose Bowl, which is being moved from California to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. The Crimson Tide topped off their undefeated regular season with an SEC Championship win over Florida, 52-46, while the Fighting Irish were taken down 34-10 by Clemson in the ACC Championship on Saturday. That game avenged the Tigers' 47-40 overtime loss to Notre Dame back in early November when quarterback Trevor Lawrence was inactive due to COVID-19 protocols.
The Buckeyes were missing 22 players in Saturday's win over Northwestern, although no specific reasons for the missing players were released by the school. The Big Ten Conference's current coronavirus protocols include a 21-day quarantine period for players and staff affected by the virus, although ESPN's Adam Rittenberg reported the conference is set to adjust their protocols to 17 days.
Teams that were left out of the Playoff included Texas A&M, who finished fifth despite posting an 8-1 record (their lone loss coming to Alabama (52-24) back on Oct. 3; and Cincinnati, who were undefeated (9-0) and won the American Athletic Conference championship in a 27-24 decision over Tulsa on Saturday.