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Keeping you in the game... One email at a time. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Maybe you had this experience this Thanksgiving, or if not, at least at some point: you're bracing for weeks for what you know is going to be a heated argument, you say your piece, and then... the other person just agrees. It's the best outcome, but still disappointing in a way. That's how college football fans (well, most of them anyway) felt yesterday after the Playoff Selection Committee picked which four college football teams made the playoffs and it was actually pretty straightforward. Who's in? Here's who's in:
  • Alabama, Clemson, and Notre Dame made the first three selections easy by being major programs who completed undefeated seasons against tough competition.
     
  • Oklahoma -- where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain, for those who can only identify football schools using lyrics from ancient musicals -- was a pretty comfortable and uncontroversial way to complete the list, given they won one of the major conferences with just one loss, and were ranked higher than the other one-loss major conference champ (Ohio State) before this week's games.
That's not to say this past weekend of conference championship games and Selection Sunday were completely without drama. For example:
  • One salty school is the University of Central Florida, who for the second year in a row went undefeated, and for the second year in a row will not be in the four-team playoff. Why? Well, they don't play in a major conference, meaning their competition is relatively easy, aka they're given so little respect that they're still basically stuck at the kids table. Last year, they pulled the very ballsy move of declaring themselves national champs after they won their bowl game (against a strong major conference team), playoffs be damned. No really, they like, hung a championship banner in their stadium and were recognized by the governor and everything. 
     
  • And though Alabama always seems dominant, they nearly lost their conference championship game before something that can only be called an "inspirational drama switcheroo" happened. In last year's national championship game, struggling quarterback Jalen Hurts was subbed out for Tua Tagovailoa, who led the team to a come-from-behind win and eventually became the starting QB for this season. In Saturday's SEC Championship game, the opposite happened, with Hurts coming off the bench to lead the come-from-behind win and clinch that playoff spot.
Bowls Are Fun
Watching the top four teams duke it out for the national title will be fun, but so will the many, many bowl games being played almost every day (with multiple happening on several days) starting December 15. Basically, teams that did well play other teams that did well in "bowl games," some of which have been played for decades and carry with them an elegant, old-timey mystique (e.g., the "Rose Bowl"), and others of which are called thing like the "Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl," the "Cheez-It Bowl," and the "Four Loko and Cheesy Gordita Crunch Supreme Combo Bowl," only the last of which was just made up for the purposes of this sentence.
 
 
"Every year, it's just a question of whether Alabama or someone else will win the national title. But this year... well, it's the same deal again."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Awesome comeback story: check! Jalen Hurts -- the Alabama QB famously benched for Tua Tagovailoa in the second half of last year's national championship game -- came full circle by replacing Tua to lead 'Bama to a come-from-behind win in this year's SEC Championship.
 
 
 
 
 
 
The first bowl game is something apparently called the "Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl," which apparently takes place at 12 PM ET on December 15 on ABC, and it is apparently between *checks notes* North Carolina A&T and *checks notes, shrugs* Alcorn State.

The funniest named bowl game -- the "Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl" -- is on December 20, 8 PM ET on ESPN, and that game is apparently between Marshall and South Florida.

The national semifinal games, which are actually important, are on December 29 -- #2 Clemson takes on #3 Notre Dame at 4 PM ET on ESPN, and then #1 (and defending champ) Alabama takes on #4 Oklahoma at 8 PM ET on ESPN.

The winners of those games (the national semifinals, not the Gasparilla Bowl) play for the national championship on January 7, 8 PM ET on ESPN, and don't worry, we'll preview that game for you before it happens.
 
 
 
 
 
 
This is happy-go-lucky Clemson coach Dabo Swinney. Clemson's not in Texas, but their national semifinal game is, so Dabo decided he might as well prepare.
 
 
 
 
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