After a weekend of conference championship matchups, college football's final four was set Sunday. The College Football Playoff committee announced Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia and Alabama will compete for the 2018 national championship in January, leaving 74 more teams to fill out the remaining bowl games.
For many, whatever bowl game they will be playing in represents a disappointment. Most teams go into the season with designs on winning a national championship—or at the very least competing for a conference title. The vast majority of these teams will instead play out their final moments of the season in sparsely populated stadiums in games intended to put something on national television on random Tuesdays and Wednesdays in December.
And that's fine.
Guys will get some cool swag and travel to locales they otherwise would not, and some will get to go out with a bowl win in their final collegiate game. That still matters to the players and coaches, even if the proliferation of bowl games and the advent of the College Football Playoff has quelled hype from the true bowl era.
There will also be some non-playoff matchups that are just plain fun.
For the most part, though, the focus will be on the College Football Playoff. Three teams made the committee's job easy. The ACC and SEC Championship Games were essentially play-ins, and Clemson and Georgia more than did their jobs to earn their spots. Clemson will likely enter the playoffs as the top seed after a dominant 38-3 win over Miami, which saw its once-promising season end with two straight losses.
Georgia avenged its lone loss of the season with a 28-7 win over Auburn.
The only remaining factor—other than sussing out the seeding—was the committee's decision between Ohio State and Alabama. The Crimson Tide were idle after losing to Auburn in Week 13, so their only hope was for a team in the top four to lose and open up a spot.
Wisconsin did just that, losing 27-21 to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. The Buckeyes were looking to earn the final playoff spot despite having two losses. It was a similar situation to the one Penn State was in a year ago, when the committee chose one-loss Ohio State over the two-loss Nittany Lions—even with James Franklin's team having a head-to-head win.
Urban Meyer was left on the outside looking in this time, when the committee chose Alabama as the No. 4 seed. CFP committee chairman Kirby Hocutt said Ohio State's blowout loss at Iowa played a heavy factor in the omission of the Big Ten champs.
"As we saw Alabama play week in and week out, the selection committee believed Alabama was the better football team," Hocutt said on ESPN. "When we looked at Ohio State, when you looked at their resume, it was impressive, but it wasn't enough for the selection committee to place them in above Alabama."
Clemson and Alabama will play in a rematch of last year's title game in the Sugar Bowl. Georgia and Oklahoma will play in the Rose Bowl.
2017 Bowl Schedule
Saturday, Dec. 16
New Orleans Bowl (1 p.m., ESPN): Troy vs. North Texas
Cure Bowl (2:30 p.m., CBSSN): Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State
Las Vegas Bowl (3:30 p.m., ABC): Boise State vs. Oregon
New Mexico Bowl (4:30 p.m., ESPN): Marshall vs. Colorado State
Camellia Bowl (8 p.m., ESPN): Arkansas State vs. Middle Tennessee
Tuesday, Dec. 19
Boca Raton Bowl (7 p.m., ESPN): Akron vs. FAU
Wednesday, Dec. 20
Frisco Bowl (8 p.m., ESPN): SMU vs. Louisiana Tech
Thursday, Dec. 21
Gasparilla Bowl (8 p.m., ESPN): Temple vs. FIU
Friday, Dec. 22
Bahamas Bowl (12:30 p.m., ESPN): UAB vs. Ohio
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (4 p.m., ESPN): Central Michigan vs. Wyoming
Saturday, Dec. 23
Birmingham Bowl (12 p.m., ESPN): USF vs. Texas Tech
Armed Forces Bowl (3:30 p.m., ESPN): San Diego State vs. Army
Dollar General Bowl (7 p.m., ESPN): Appalachian State vs. Toledo
Sunday, Dec. 24
Hawaii Bowl (8:30 p.m., ESPN): Fresno State vs. Houston
Tuesday, Dec. 26
Heart of Dallas Bowl (1:30 p.m., ESPN): Utah vs. West Virginia
Quick Lane Bowl (5:15 p.m., ESPN): Duke vs. NIU
Cactus Bowl (9 p.m., ESPN): Kansas State vs. UCLA
Wednesday, Dec. 27
Independence Bowl (1:30 p.m., ESPN): Florida State vs. Southern Miss
New Era Pinstripe Bowl (5:15 p.m., ESPN): Boston College vs. Iowa
Foster Farms Bowl (8:30 p.m., Fox): Arizona vs. Purdue
Texas Bowl (9 p.m., ESPN): Texas vs. Missouri
Thursday, Dec. 28
Military Bowl (1:30 p.m., ESPN): Virginia vs. Navy
Camping World Bowl (5:15 p.m., ESPN): Oklahoma State vs. Virginia Tech
Alamo Bowl (9 p.m., ESPN): Stanford vs. TCU
Holiday Bowl (9 p.m., FS1): Michigan State vs. Washington State
Friday, Dec. 29
Belk Bowl (1 p.m., ESPN): Texas A&M vs. Wake Forest
Sun Bowl (3 p.m., CBS): Arizona State vs. NC State
Music City Bowl (4:30 p.m., ESPN): Kentucky vs. Northwestern
Arizona Bowl (5:30 p.m., CBSSN): New Mexico State vs. Utah State
Cotton Bowl Classic (8:30 p.m., ESPN): Ohio State vs. USC
Saturday, Dec. 30
TaxSlayer Bowl (12 p.m., ESPN): Mississippi State vs. Louisville
Liberty Bowl (12:30 p.m., ABC): Iowa State vs. Memphis
Fiesta Bowl (4 p.m., ESPN): Penn State vs. Washington
Orange Bowl (8 p.m., ESPN): Wisconsin vs. Miami
Monday, Jan. 1
Outback Bowl (12 p.m., ESPN2): Michigan vs. South Carolina
Peach Bowl (12:30 p.m., ESPN): Auburn vs. UCF
Citrus Bowl (1 p.m., ABC): Notre Dame vs. LSU
Rose Bowl (5 p.m., ESPN): Oklahoma vs. Georgia
Sugar Bowl (8:45 p.m., ESPN): Clemson vs. Alabama
Monday, Jan. 8
College Football Playoff National Championship (8 p.m., ESPN)
This article will be updated to provide more information as it becomes available.