For the first time in the four-year history of the College Football Playoff, two teams from the same conference qualified for the final four semifinals.
Alabama (11-1), which lost to SEC West winner Auburn, moved up into the fourth spot just ahead of Big Ten champion Ohio State (11-2). It's the second consecutive season the Big Ten champion failed to qualify for the playoff. Last season, Penn State won the title but was left out in favor of the Buckeyes.
No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 3 Georgia join the Tide in the four-team playoff group vying for a national title.
"The selection committee just favored Alabama's full body of work over Ohio State," playoff selection committee chairman Kirby Hocutt said on ESPN while explaining the rankings. "The selection committee believed Alabama was the better football team."
Clemson (12-1) remained in the top spot after its impressive 38-3 win over Miami in the ACC Championship Game. The defending national champions will travel to the Sugar Bowl to take on Alabama, a rematch of last season's national title game.
Oklahoma (12-1) moved up a spot to No. 2 after its 41-17 win over TCU in Dallas in the Big 12 title game. The Sooners will head to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2003 to take on Georgia (12-1), which defeated Auburn 28-7 in Atlanta. It will be the first meeting between these two programs.
The winners will meet in the national championship game on Monday, Jan. 8, at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.