Michigan State open as 9.5-point underdog to Alabama

Michigan State open as 9.5-point underdog to Alabama

ACC champion Clemson, SEC's Alabama, Big Ten's Michigan State and Big 12's Oklahoma are the best teams in the country and will play for the national championship.

Clemson never left the top spot of the College Football Playoff selection committee's rankings this season.

The College Football Playoff will pit Clemson against Oklahoma and Alabama against Michigan State, both on New Year's Eve.

Clemson (13-0) has been No. 1 since the committee began its rankings the first week of November.

The Sooners (11-1) had already finished their season; the Big 12 does not hold a championship game.

Despite having lost a home game to 12th-ranked Ole Miss during the regular season, Alabama (12-1) owns an impressive resume that's littered with victories over SEC foes and nationally ranked opponents such as LSU, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi State.

Well, based on where teams were ranked heading into Saturday's conference championship games, there was little debate regarding the top four teams other than where to seed them.

Most of the talk will center on the Clemson vs. Oklahoma and Michigan State vs. Alabama and for good reason, but a closer look at the entire schedule and fans should be treated to some great games.

"We know what kind of physical, tough teams they have at Michigan State, and it will be a real challenge for our team", said head coach Nick Saban on the matchup with the Spartans. That includes Saturday's 29-15 victory over Florida in the conference title game, though the Tide failed to cash as a hefty 16.5-point fave.

Whether Saban will continue his legacy by taking Alabama to its fourth national championship during his tenure or whether his apprentice Dantonio can create a legacy of his own by becoming the first Spartan coach to play for the national title in over fifty years, this season's Cotton Bowl will be one for the history books.

But no team has been to the Orange Bowl more than Oklahoma. Because the Big 12 doesn't have a conference championship game, the Sooners played one fewer game than the Hawkeyes and their loss was to Texas, which concluded its season with a losing record. "The Alabama offense hasn't lit it up this year, but it has done enough to win football games while covering the spread in six of the 11 games we booked this year (Charleston Southern excluded)", Avello said. The winners will square off on January 11 in Glendale, Ariz.

"They're going to be very well-coached", Dantonio said. The Sooners are aiming for their first national title since 2000. Henry also has 23 touchdowns on the season, and has scored a touchdown in each of the last 18 games dating back to the 2014 season. The highest ranked conference champion from the Group of 5 conferences (American, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West and Sun Belt) also will receive a spot. 5 and 6, respectively, in the final committee rankings.

The Sooners didn't have to face DeShaun Watson last season, as the then-redshirt freshman was out with an ACL tear for the Russell Athletic Bowl.

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