• 66°

CFP pairings: Clemson vs. Oklahoma, Michigan St. vs. Alabama

The Associated Press


Top-seeded Clemson will play No. 4 Oklahoma at the Orange Bowl and No. 2 Alabama gets No. 3 Michigan State at the Cotton Bowl in the New Year’s Eve semifinals of the College Football Playoff.

The selection committee revealed the pairings for its second playoff Sunday, a day after the top teams eliminated any controversy about who should be in the final four. The only real debate was the order.

Clemson (13-0) has been No. 1 since the committee began its rankings the first week of November, and committee chairman Jeff Long said that the Tigers were clearly No. 1 in the final rankings. As the top seed, the Tigers get to play as close to home as possible. The Tigers and Sooners (11-1) met in Russell Athletic Bowl last season.

Alabama (12-1) began its season at AT&T Stadium in North Texas against a Big Ten team (Wisconsin) and returns to face another in Michigan State (12-1).

Oklahoma was No. 3 last week after it finished its regular season as the Big 12 champion, but Michigan State’s Big Ten championship game victory over previously unbeaten Iowa pushed the Spartans past the Sooners in the end.

Long said bumping Michigan State past Oklahoma had nothing to do with avoiding the possibility of having the Sooners play close to home in in the Dallas area.

The starting times for the college football playoff games are set, according to ESPN. No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Oklahoma starts at 4 p.m. on Dec. 31 in the Orange Bowl; and No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Michigan State starts at 8 p.m. on Dec. 31 in the Cotton Bowl.

In the Big 6 bowl matchups are:

As expected, it will be Iowa vs. Stanford in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, featuring the Big Ten Conference runner-up against the Pac 12-champion Cardinal and their Heisman contender Christian McCaffrey.

Also on Jan. 1, the Sugar Bowl will match Mississippi against Oklahoma State and the Fiesta Bowl has Notre Dame against Ohio State.

On Dec. 31, the Peach Bowl pits AAC champion Houston against Florida State.

The Fiesta Bowl gets another marquee matchup.

The New Year’s Day bowl will feature two teams in the college football playoff mix until late in the season.

The defending champion Buckeyes (11-1) lost their only game to Michigan State and needed help to get into college football’s final four. They didn’t get it and wind up No. 7 in the final CFP ranking.

Notre Dame (10-2) fought through a slew of injuries to finish four points shy of a perfect record. The Fighting Irish are No. 8 in the final rankings.

MIAMI BEACH BOWL: Western Kentucky and South Florida are heading to the Miami Beach Bowl on Dec. 21.

Western Kentucky (11-2) won the Conference USA title and features quarterback Brandon Doughty, who leads the nation with 45 touchdown passes this season.

South Florida (8-4) finished on a four-game winning streak, and has a chance for its first nine-win season since 2007. USF has won the last four meetings between the schools, the last of those coming in 2010.

The game is played at Marlins Park — about a 15-minute drive from Miami Beach. Last season, the bowl debuted with Memphis topping BYU 55-48.

College bowls

2015-16 Bowl

(Subject to Change)

All Times EST

Saturday, Dec. 19

Celebration Bowl


NC A&T (9-2) vs. Alcorn State (9-3), Noon

New Mexico Bowl


Arizona (6-6) vs. New Mexico (7-5), 2 p.m. (ESPN)

Las Vegas Bowl

BYU (9-3) vs. Utah (9-3), 3:30 p.m. (ABC) Camelia Bowl

Montgomery, Ala.

Ohio (8-4) vs. Appalachian State (9-2), 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Cure Bowl

Orlando, Fla.

San Jose State (5-7) vs. Georgia State (6-6), 7 p.m. (CBSSN)

New Orleans Bowl

Louisiana Tech (8-4) vs. Arkansas State (8-3), 9 p.m. (ESPN)


Monday, Dec. 21

Miami Beach Bowl

South Florida (8-4) vs. Western Kentucky (11-2), 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)


Tuesday, Dec. 22

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl


Akron (7-5) vs. Utah State (6-6), 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Boca Raton (Fla.) Bowl

Temple (10-3) vs. Toledo (9-2), 7 p.m. (ESPN)


Wednesday, Dec. 23

Poinsettia Bowl

San Diego

Northern Illinois (8-5) vs. Boise State (8-4), 4:30 p.m. (ESPN)

GoDaddy Bowl

Mobile, Ala.

Bowling Green (10-3) vs. Georgia Southern (8-3), 8 p.m. (ESPN)


Thursday, Dec. 24

Bahamas Bowl


Middle Tennessee (7-5) vs. Western Michigan (7-5), Noon (ESPN)

Hawaii Bowl


Cincinnati (7-5) vs. San Diego State (10-3), 8 p.m. (ESPN)


Saturday, Dec. 26

St. Petersburg (Fla.) Bowl

Marshall (9-3) vs. UConn (6-6), 11 a.m. (ESPN)

Sun Bowl

El Paso, Texas

Miami (8-4) vs. Washington State (8-4), 2 p.m. (CBS)

Heart of Dallas Bowl

Washington (6-6) vs. Southern Mississippi (9-4), 3:20 p.m. (ESPN)

Pinstripe Bowl

Bronx, N.Y.

Duke (7-5) vs. Indiana (6-6), 3:30 p.m. (ABC)

Independence Bowl

Shreveport, La.

Virginia Tech (6-6) vs. Tulsa (6-6), 5:45 p.m. (ESPN)

Foster Farms Bowl

Santa Clara, Calif.

Nebraska (5-7) vs. UCLA (8-4), 9:15 p.m. (ESPN)


Monday, Dec. 28

Military Bowl

Annapolis, Md.

Navy (9-2) vs. Pittsburgh (8-4), 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Quick Lane Bowl


Central Michigan (7-5) vs. Minnesota (5-7), 5 p.m. (ESPN2)


Tuesday, Dec. 29

Armed Forces Bowl

Fort Worth, Texas

Air Force (8-5) vs. California (7-5), 2 p.m. (ESPN)

Russell Athletic Bowl

Orlando, Fla.

North Carolina (11-2) vs. Baylor (9-3), 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Arizona Bowl


Nevada (6-6) vs. Colorado State (7-5), 7:30 p.m. (TBA)

Texas Bowl


Texas Tech (7-5) vs. LSU (8-3), 9 p.m. (ESPN)


Wednesday, Dec. 30

Birmingham (Ala.) Bowl

Auburn (6-6) vs. Memphis (9-3), Noon (ESPN)

Belk Bowl

Charlotte, N.C.

NC State (7-5) vs. Mississippi St. (8-4), 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Music City Bowl

Nashville, Tenn.

Louisville (7-5) vs. Texas A&M (8-4), 7 p.m. (ESPN)

Holiday Bowl

San Diego

Wisconsin (9-3) vs. Southern Cal (8-5), 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)


Thursday, Dec. 31

Peach Bowl


Houston (12-1) vs. Florida State (10-2), Noon (ESPN)

Orange Bowl

(Playoff Semifinal)

Miami Gardens, Fla.

Clemson (13-0) vs. Oklahoma (11-1), 4 p.m. (ESPN)

Cotton Bowl Classic

(Playoff Semifinal)

Arlington, Texas

Alabama (12-1) vs. Michigan State (12-1), 8 p.m. (ESPN)


Friday, Jan. 1

Outback Bowl

Tampa, Fla.

Northwestern (10-2) vs. Tennessee (8-4), Noon (ESPN2)

Citrus Bowl

Orlando, Fla.

Michigan (9-3) vs. Florida (10-3), 1 p.m. (ABC)

Fiesta Bowl

Glendale, Ariz.

Notre Dame (10-2) vs. Ohio State (11-1), 1 p.m. (ESPN)

Rose Bowl

Pasadena, Calif.

Iowa (12-1) vs. Stanford (11-2), 5 p.m. (ESPN)

Sugar Bowl

New Orleans

Oklahoma State (10-2) vs. Mississippi (9-3), 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)


Saturday, Jan. 2

TaxSlayer Bowl

Jacksonville, Fla.

Penn St. (7-5) vs. Georgia (9-3), Noon (ESPN)

Liberty Bowl

Memphis, Tenn.

Kansas St. (6-6) vs. Arkansas (7-5), 3:20 p.m. (ESPN)

Alamo Bowl

San Antonio

Oregon (9-3) vs. TCU (10-2), 6:45 p.m. (ESPN)

Cactus Bowl


West Virginia (7-5) vs. Arizona State (6-6), 10:15 p.m. (ESPN)


Monday, Jan. 11

College Football Championship

Glendale, Ariz.

Orange Bowl winner vs. Cotton Bowl winner, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)


Saturday, Jan. 23

East-West Shrine Classic

At St. Petersburg, Fla.

East vs. West, 4 p.m. (NFLN)

NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

At Carson, Calif.

National vs. American, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)


Saturday, Jan. 30

Senior Bowl

At Mobile, Ala.

North vs. South, 2:30 p.m. (NFLN)