Ohio State's quest to defend its national title officially ended Sunday when the College Football Playoff committee left the Buckeyes out of the top four. The Buckeyes' slim hopes died Saturday night when Alabama beat Florida 29-15 to win the Southeastern Conference championship and Clemson beat North Carolina 45-37 in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game.
The consolation prize for the Buckeyes and their fans is a date with Notre Dame on New Year's Day in the Fiesta Bowl.
Ohio State (11-1) finished No. 7 in the final playoff ranking. It will play No. 8 Notre Dame (10-2) at 1 p.m. at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. It's a rematch of the 2006 Fiesta Bowl, won 34-20 by Ohio State, and a preview of a regular-season series coming in 2022 and 2023.
"It's two legendary programs, two programs I am very familiar with and have great respect for," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. "[The Fiesta Bowl] is a great bowl game, one I've had experience with and I know Ohio State has a great tradition there as well. I'm very excited. We'll do our best to play well."
The Buckeyes didn't earn an invitation to the Rose Bowl because Iowa finished No. 5 in the final ranking after losing 16-13 to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship Saturday night. The Hawkeyes (12-1) will play No. 6 Stanford (11-2), which jumped Ohio State in the ranking, in the Rose Bowl.
"I have never been to the Rose, but there's no disappointment," Meyer said. "You start talking about that level of bowl game and the level of opponent, you've got to get locked in and have laser-like focus."
Earlier Sunday, the College Football Playoff selection committee announced pairings for the Dec. 31 semifinal games. No. 1 Clemson (13-0) will play No. 4 Oklahoma (11-1) in the Orange Bowl. No. 2 Alabama (12-1) will play No. 3 Michigan State (12-1) in the Cotton Bowl.
Among the other bowl pairings announced Sunday were No. 16 Oklahoma State vs. No. 12 Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl and No. 18 Houston vs. No. 9 Florida State in the Peach Bowl.
Ohio State fell from No. 6 to No. 7 in the Associated Press poll. Clemson ranked first and was followed by Alabama, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Stanford and Iowa.
In the final coaches poll, Ohio State moved from No. 6 to No. 5 behind Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma and Michigan State. Iowa fell from No. 3 to No. 7.
What: Fiesta Bowl
Who: Ohio State (11-1) vs. Notre Dame (10-2)
When: 1 p.m., Jan. 1
This article was written by David Jablonski from The Dayton Daily News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.