Ohio State was voted No. 5 and Wisconsin No. 6. Clemson and Alabama are expected to meet in the Sugar Bowl, while Oklahoma and Georgia are expected to vie in the Rose Bowl, with each of those matchups scheduled for New Year's Day.
For the first time, two teams from the same conference - Alabama and Georgia from the SEC - are among the final four teams.
Alabama and Clemson have played in the past two finals, with each coming down to the final minute; the Tide won the 2015 title.
The Buckeyes beat an undefeated Wisconsin team in the Big Ten Championship on Saturday. The Big Ten has a zillion living alumni, and now three of the four teams in the playoffs are located in the southeast, a lack of geographic diversity that is bad for television ratings.
However, after Auburn and Wisconsin lost, that changed the landscape of the four best teams in the nation.
The Sooners knocked off previous No. 11-TCU (10-3), 41-17, earlier Saturday, in Dallas, while the Bulldogs rallied from an early deficit to take revenge on previous-No. And it was a pretty significant loss at that. Nevertheless, they also had two losses - Oklahoma by 15, and, most glaringly, letting Iowa hang 55 on them. "You wouldn't even be talking to me". SEC victor Georgia, who took down Auburn Saturday is in third of the final four. "I think our efforts to play more conference games, to schedule up to a reasonable degree, to reduce the number of mismatches should serve us well".
The committee favored a quality record over quality wins this year, and that's going to hurt college football fans more than anything.