Playoff field set: Georgia vs. Ohio State; Michigan vs. TCU

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Georgia, Michigan, TCU and Ohio State were chosen Sunday to play in the College Football Playoff, giving the Big Ten multiple teams in the four-team field for the first time.

The defending national champion and top-ranked Bulldogs and fourth-seeded Buckeyes will meet Dec. 31 at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta. The second-seeded Wolverines and third-ranked Horned Frogs, the lone first-timer in the final four, will play at the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, the same day.

The national championship game is scheduled for Jan. 10 at Sofi Stadium in Inglewood, California, and it could a rematch of Big Ten rivals Ohio State and Michigan. The rivalry dates to 1902, but the Buckeyes and Wolverines have never played outside of their annual regular-season game.

With some drama, but not much controversy, the CFP selection committee’s top four fell into place over the championship weekend. The most interesting part of the unveiling was whether the committee would pair Michigan and Ohio State in the semifinals and if Alabama might be able to slip in as the first two-loss playoff team.

In the end, the committee sprung no surprises.

Georgia (13-0) won the Southeastern Conference championship game in a rout and coach Michigan (13-0) similar took the the Big Ten title.

TCU (12-1) suffered is first loss of the season in the Big 12 championship, falling in overtime to Kansas State. The loss made it an uneasy night for Heisman Trophy contender Max Duggan and the Horned Frogs, but in the end they had already built enough equity during their improbable season to stay in the top four.

Ohio State (11-1) was given a second life in the playoff race when Southern California lost the Pac-12 championship game Friday night. A week after star quarterback C.J. Stroud and the Buckeyes lost at home to coach Jim Harbaugh and Michigan, they slipped into the final playoff spot, the best of a flawed batch of contenders.

Alabama (10-2) was fifth in the committee rankings, missing the CFP for just the second time in its nine-year history. The Crimson Tide, with a little lobbying from coach Nick Saban, were hoping to become the first team to lose two games and make the playoff.

The committee instead simply moved Ohio State from fifth last week to fourth this week, setting up just the second matchup ever between the Bulldogs and Buckeyes. The only time Georgia and Ohio State have played was in the 1992 Citrus Bowl, a Buckeyes’ victory.

For Georgia, it is the second straight CFP appearance and third overall. This time, though, coach Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs enter as the No. 1 team and clear favorite after following up last season’s national title with a perfect season.

Stetson Bennett and the ’Dawgs will try to become the first team to repeat as College Football Playoff champions.

Ohio State is making its fifth playoff appearance. The last time the Buckeyes were the fourth seed was 2014, when they won their last national title.

Michigan is in for the second time, again as the second seed after losing to Georgia in the Orange Bowl last season.

TCU becomes just the 13th different school make the field in nine years. That lack of variety is one of the main reasons the CFP will be expanding to 12 teams in the 2024 season.

The Horned Frogs, whose only national title came in 1938, have never played Michigan.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.