CFP: Alabama claims No. 4 spot; FSU, UGA left out

CFP: Alabama claims No. 4 spot; FSU, UGA left out

The College Football Playoff is set. Michigan, Washington, Texas and Alabama are in, while Florida State and Georgia aren’t invited to the party.

Michigan (13-0 straight up, 7-5 against the spread) is the No. 1 seed and will take on fourth-seeded Alabama (12-1 SU, 9-4 ATS) at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena at 5:00 p.m. Eastern on New Year’s Day.

As of Monday morning, most books had the Wolverines installed as 1.5-point favorites with a total of 46. The Crimson Tide was +105 on the money line.

These schools faced each other in the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day in 2020. Alabama captured a 35-16 win as a 7.5-point favorite in Orlando.

The Wolverines led 16-14 at halftime, but the Tide outscored UM 21-0 in the second half. The 51 combined points dropped ‘under’ the 60-point total.

Mac Jones completed 16-of-25 passes for 327 yards and three touchdowns without an interception, while Jerry Jeudy had six receptions for 204 yards and one TD. Najee Harris had 136 rushing yards and two TDs on 24 carries.

Michigan improved to 13-0 with Saturday night’s 26-0 win over Iowa as a 21.5-point ‘chalk’ in the Big Ten Championship Game. James Turner buried 4-of-4 field-goal attempts, including a 46 and a 50-yarder, while Semaj Morgan had an 87-yard punt return to set up one of Blake Corum’s two rushing TDs.

Michigan’s defense limited the Hawkeyes to 155 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers. Jim Harbaugh’s program has won three consecutive Big Ten titles.

Alabama won its 11th straight game Saturday when it beat Georgia 27-24 as a 5.5-point underdog at the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. Jalen Milroe completed 13-of-23 passes for 192 yards and two TDs without an interception.

After falling behind 7-0 early in the first quarter, Nick Saban’s team scored 17 unanswered points before halftime. Milroe found Jamarion Miller for a 28-yard TD pass to put the Tide ahead 10-7 early in the second quarter. Then Milroe hit Jermaine Burton with a 15-yard scoring strike with 48 seconds left in the first half.

UGA cut ‘Bama’s lead to 17-10 midway through the third quarter, but Alabama got a 28-yard field goal from Will Reichard late in the third. A one-yard TD run by UGA QB Carson Beck cut the deficit to 20-17 with 10:16 remaining.

But the Tide responded with a nine-play, 75-yard drive that ate up 4:29 of clock, with Roydell Williams scoring on a one-yard TD run with 5:47 left. On the only third-down situation of the crucial drive, Milroe found Isaiah Bond for a 13-yard completion on a third-and-two play.

On the next play, Milroe hit Bond for 11 yards to UGA’s 1. Two plays later, Williams bullied his way into the end zone.

Georgia answered with a 10-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by Kendall Milton’s one-yard TD run on a fourth-and-goal play. However, after Milton was stuffed on third and goal, UGA was forced to use one of its three timeouts.

When Alabama got the ball back, there was 2:52 remaining. On the first play, Milroe had a 30-yard run to UGA’s 45. Two plays later on second and 8 with 1:57 left after the Bulldogs used their second timeout, Milroe got another first down with a nine-yard run.

From there, Alabama ran out the clock and ended UGA’s SEC-record 29-game winning streak. The Tide have beaten Georgia in eight of the last nine head-to-head meetings.

In the other CFP semifinal, second-seeded Washington (13-0 SU, 6-6-1 ATS) will face third-seeded Texas at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on New Year’s Day at 8:45 p.m. Eastern.

As of Monday morning, most betting shops had the Longhorns listed as four-point favorites with a total of 64. The Huskies were +160 on the money line.

Texas (12-1 SU, 7-5-1 ATS) won its seventh straight game and, in its final season in the conference, won its first Big 12 Championship since 2009 by beating the brakes off of Oklahoma St., 49-21. Steve Sarkisian’s club covered the number as a 14.5-point favorite, while the 70 combined points went ‘over’ the 58-point total.

Texas QB Quinn Ewers connected on 35-of-46 passes for 452 yards and four TDs with one interception. Keilan Robinson had 75 rushing yards and two TDs on four carries, while WR Adonai Mitchell had six catches for 109 yards and one TD.

Texas WR Xavier Worthy had six receptions for 86 yards, but he left the game with an injury to his left foot/ankle. He returned to the sidelines on crutches with his left foot in a walking boot.

But on Sunday during Sarkisian’s presser, he told the media that “X-rays were negative, so he’ll be okay.” Worthy, who has 73 catches for 969 yards and five TDs in 13 games this year, is listed as ‘questionable’ for the Sugar Bowl.

Washington outscored Oregon 14-7 in the final stanza to collect a 34-31 win as a 9.5-point underdog in Friday’s Pac-12 Championship Game in Las Vegas. The Huskies cashed money-line tickets in the +280 neighborhood.

Michael Penix completed 27-of-39 passes for 319 yards and one TD with one interception, while RB Dillon Johnson had 152 rushing yards and two TDs on 28 attempts. Johnson also had a four-yard TD pass to Germie Bernard to extend the Huskies’ lead to 17-3 midway through the second quarter.

Washington added a 37-yard field goal from Grady Gross to lead 20-3 with 1:39 left in the second quarter. But with nine seconds left until halftime, Oregon QB Bo Nix hit Terrance Ferguson with a two-yard TD pass to get the Ducks within 10 at the break.

Dan Lanning’s squad scored the first 14 points of the second half and took a 24-20 lead into the fourth quarter. However, Johnson’s one-yard TD run with 12:23 remaining put the Huskies back ahead, and then Penix found Quentin Moore with a two-yard TD pass for a 34-24 advantage with 2:44 left.

FanDuel has Michigan as the +175 ‘chalk’ to win the CFP. Alabama has the next-shortest odds (+210), followed by Texas (+260) and Washington (+800).

FSU and Georgia will collide in the Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 30. at 4:00 p.m. Eastern in Miami. As of Monday morning, most books had UGA installed as a 13.5-point favorite with a total of 45.5. The Seminoles are +490 or +500 on the money line.