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Alabama earned the No. 4 spot in the College Football Playoff and will face Clemson in the semifinal.

Alabama football: What Nick Saban was doing when Tide edged out Ohio State for final CFP spot

Matt Speakman

Alabama football drives the conversation here at the Rammer JammerSECCountry’s daily Alabama athletics recap, but we’ll cover news for every facet of the Crimson Tide. Every morning, we’ll be here for the latest on Alabama football, basketball and every sport on campus.

The Tide are in

Alabama qualified for its fourth straight College Football Playoff on Sunday thanks to Ohio State defeating Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game the night before. The committee decided between the Crimson Tide and the Buckeyes for the final playoff spot after Clemson, Oklahoma and Georgia. When it came down to it, the committee believed Alabama passed the eye test better than Ohio State. The Buckeyes had a conference title, but lost two games, including a 31-point loss to Iowa. After making the selection, CFP committee chairman Kirby Hocutt explained why Alabama got in.

Alabama will face Clemson in the Sugar Bowl, third straight season the Tide and Tigers meet in the CFP. Alabama won the first matchup, 45-40, while Clemson won last season, 31-28. Of course, both of those were in the CFP Championship Game. Alabama opens this one as a slight favorite over the Tigers. Our own Marq Burnett gave his early keys to the semifinal game.

In other headlines….

Doing his job

While most teams learned of their fates watching the selection show on Sunday, Alabama coach Nick Saban was on the recruiting trail. In typical Saban fashion, he was not interested in the fanfare that came with being selected to the playoff once again. Saban said he was bringing the recruit into his office when he found out, so he was in the car and missed the results.

Injury update

Alabama has dealt with injuries throughout its season. With nearly a month off before playing Clemson, the Tide will have a chance to get healthy. Defensive end LaBryan Ray will be day-to-day when Alabama comes back from the holidays after missing the final two games of the regular season with a broken bone in his foot. Still, even though Alabama should get most of its injured players back, one player will be out for the semifinal. Safety Hootie Jones will be sidelined with a knee injury, according to Saban.

Around the Capstone

Alabama men’s basketball blew a six-point halftime lead and lost to UCF on Sunday.

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