© AP Photo/Gerry Broome Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson celebrates after Clemson defeated North Carolina 45-37 in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game in Charlotte, N.C., early Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015.
Michigan State needed a miracle. Hail hog helped Alabama get here. A swat saved Oklahoma’s season. Clemson turned away a late 2-point conversion that could have cost the Tigers their perfect record.
A season filled with fantastic finishes helped shape the College Football Playoff, even if it led to a sleepy selection Sunday.
Top-seeded Clemson will play No. 4 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl in the first College Football Playoff semifinal on New Year’s Eve. No. 2 Alabama will play No. 3 Michigan State at the Cotton Bowl in the nightcap of the Dec. 31 doubleheader.
No drama. No complaints. Nothing at all like the week-to-week mayhem — with one once-in-a-lifetime-play after another — that made the season memorable.
In the end, the only real debate was how to rank the top four teams.
Committee chairman Jeff Long said that the Tigers were the clear-cut top team in the final rankings.
Long said bumping Michigan State past Oklahoma had nothing to do with avoiding the possibility of having the Sooners play close to home in the Dallas area.
“We first get those top four teams, one, two, three and four, finished before we do anything else,” Long said.
And that was it for drama. A big difference from last season, when the committee had to choose from Ohio State, Baylor and TCU, and ticked off the Big 12 by jumping the Buckeyes past the Bears and Frogs in the final rankings.
For the playoff teams, a series of season-saving moments and turning points have brought them two wins away from a national championship.