For the second half of the regular season, once Alabama lost its first game, Georgia and Ohio State seemed to be on a collision course to play in the College Football Playoff championship game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Jan. 9.
But then the Buckeyes played Michigan, and their supposed revenge game against their rejuvenated rival turned out to be a 45-23 humiliation by the Wolverines in Columbus — a shocking result that threw out all assumptions as to which fan bases will invade Los Angeles in the new year.
Suddenly, Michigan joined Georgia in the top two, and Ohio State appeared to be rightfully on the outside looking in for a playoff spot. USC’s loss to Utah in the Pac-12 championship game opened the door, and, since Alabama suffered a second loss, there was no one-loss team to walk through it other than the Buckeyes.
So, we’ll get Georgia against Ohio State after all — just 10 days earlier and as what may as well be a Bulldogs home game in Atlanta, where they’ve already pushed around Oregon and Louisiana State this season.
The winner will get Michigan or Texas Christian, which means L.A. will be hosting a national championship game featuring two major brands or an underdog getting its title shot against an entrenched program.
Here are three things to watch for New Year’s Eve in the Peach and Fiesta Bowls: