Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Washington make up the four-team field of the third installment of the College Football Playoff, leaving out Big Ten champ Penn State and No. 6-ranked Michigan.
While Alabama and Clemson were expected to make the College Football Playoff, questions arose on how much it means to win a conference title. In the previous two College Football Playoffs, all eight participants entered the playoff with a conference title.
While Alabama, Clemson and Washington all wrapped up conference titles on Saturday, Penn State came away with the Big Ten's title with a win over Wisconsin. Although Penn State had a conference title and defeated the Buckeyes, Ohio State earned a College Football Playoff berth thanks to wins over three top 10 programs.
College Football Playoff chair Kirby Hocutt told ESPN Washington's one loss weight differently than Penn State's two losses. This despite Penn State having a tougher strength of schedule.
What propelled Ohio State into the College Football Playoff was its win over top 10 Oklahoma on the road, Hocutt said.
"The selection committee respects those kind of wins," Hocutt said.
Clemson plays Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. Alabama takes on Washington in the Peach Bowl in the other semifinal game.
Winners of the Fiesta and Peach Bowls will play for a national title on Jan. 9.
Here are the top 6 in the College Football Playoff:
1) Alabama (13-0)
2) Clemson (12-1)
3) Ohio State (11-1)
4) Washington (12-1)
5) Penn State (11-2)
6) Michigan (10-2)