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Clemson-Alabama, Oklahoma-Georgia set for playoff semis

Courtesy of ESPN: 

The final College Football Playoff rankings have been released, and the semifinals are set.

Here’s the first look at this year’s playoff:

ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL

Jan. 1, 8:45 p.m. ET (ESPN & ESPN App) | Mercedes-Benz Superdome (New Orleans)

No. 4 Alabama vs. No. 1 Clemson

All great battles are trilogies, so it’s only fair we have a Clemson-Alabama Part III.

The difference this time around is that it’s Clemson that has the upper hand. Alabama sneaked into the playoff as the fourth seed, edging Ohio State even after the Crimson Tide failed to win the SEC West.

Clemson arrives playing its best football, red hot after dominant wins over South Carolina and Miami.

For Alabama, it’s been an odd season — few big wins (a fact the committee chose to overlook) — and a loss to end the regular season to Auburn. It’s still Alabama, but not the dominant force that it had been for so long.

PLAYOFF AT THE ROSE BOWL

Jan. 1, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN & ESPN App) | The Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.)

No. 3 Georgia vs. No. 2 Oklahoma

Oklahoma has faced teams from the SEC a total of 163 times, but the Sooners have never played Georgia.

The two storied programs will meet for the first time at the Rose Bowl after winning their respective conference championship games in dominating fashion Saturday.

Oklahoma hammered TCU 41-17, as quarterback Baker Mayfield all but clinched the Heisman Trophy. Later in the day, Georgia avenged its only loss of the season, routing Auburn in Atlanta, 28-7.

The Sooners advanced to the playoff for the second time in three years behind the best offense in college football. Mayfield has completed 71 percent of his passes for 4,340 yards and 46 total touchdowns with only five interceptions. Led by Outland Trophy finalist Orlando Brown, Oklahoma also boasts an imposing offensive line and a surging star in sophomore running back Rodney Anderson.

Georgia, however, could be the Sooners’ equal on the other side of the ball.

ESPN’s Darren Rovell, ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.