Defending national champions. Undefeated and owners of a 28-game winning streak, longest in the nation.
The Clemson Tigers are one heck of a No. 3 seed.
Clemson will play second-seeded Ohio State in prime time Dec. 28 in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, looking to make it three national championship in four seasons.
“We’re just excited to be in it,” said Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, who has spent much of the last month playing up how his team was being disrespected by being relegated to third in the rankings after starting the season No. 1 in the polls.
The other semifinal matches No. 1 LSU and No. 4 Oklahoma.
The selection committee revealed the pairings Sunday and the final four was no surprise. The only mystery involved which would be the top seed among three undefeated teams that have been hammering opponents most of the season. The 13-member committee went with Southeastern Conference champion LSU. The Tigers (13-0) will face the Big 12 champion Sooners (12-1) in the Peach Bowl, four hours before the Fiesta Bowl kicks off.
“Anytime, anywhere, anybody, we ready to play,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said on ESPN.
Clemson opened as a two-point favorite against the Buckeyes. LSU was an 11 1/2-point favorite against the Sooners.
LSU used a convincing victory against Georgia on Saturday to move up. Ohio State (13-0) had been atop the committee’s rankings last week, but the Buckeyes slipped to No. 2 after coming from behind against Wisconsin to win the Big Ten title.
The national championship game is Jan. 13 in New Orleans. The No. 1 seed has yet to win the CFP in five years.
The Tigers and Buckeyes flip-flopped at No. 1 a couple of times throughout the committee’s six weeks of ranking teams and chairman Rob Mullens said the debate was similar each week.
“Every weekend one of the them has done something to move above the other,” said Mullens, the athletic director at Oregon. “LSU’s performance against a No. 4 ranked Georgia compelled the committee to put them just ahead of Ohio State.”