Last night’s win sealed a spot in the College Football Playoff for the Michigan State Spartans, and that was made official today with the announcement of the four team field.
The Big Ten Championship Game served as a play-in game for the College Football Playoff with the number five ranked Michigan State Spartans earning their way in with a win over the fourth-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes.
The winner was widely expected to earn one of the four spots in the semifinals and that has been made official with the release of the final College Football Playoff poll today. As the Big Ten Champions, Michigan State not only secured a spot in the playoff field, they also jumped the Oklahoma Sooners.
Oklahoma did not play this weekend while the rest of the top teams competed in conference championship games. The committee obviously felt the additional win over a very good Iowa team was enough of an addition to the Spartans’ resume to bump them up over the idle Sooners.
In jumping Oklahoma into the third spot in the poll, the Spartans avoid the top-ranked Clemson Tigers in the semifinal but will still have a tough task ahead of them with the second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in the Cotton Bowl Classic in Arlington, Texas.
It will be a matchup full of intrigue as former Michigan State coach Nick Saban brings his powerhouse team into a matchup of similar styles of dominant defenses and pro-style offenses. Michigan State may have been a stepping stone job for Saban but Mark Dantonio has shown that it can be a destination – a label that will be cemented with a playoff win over the Crimson Tide.
The semifinal at the Cotton Bowl Classic will be played on New Year’s Eve.
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The full final top 25 from the College Football Playoff Committee is as follows:
3. Michigan State
7. Ohio State
8. Notre Dame
9. Florida State
10. North Carolina
16. Oklahoma State
25. Southern California