Road to the College Football Playoff

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Derick E. Hingle | USA TODAY Sports Images
Blake Sims drove Alabama 55 yards in the final 50 seconds of regulation for a tying field goal, and threw a 6-yard TD pass to DeAndrew White in OT to lift No. 5 Alabama to a 20-13 victory against No. 16 LSU on Nov. 8.


John David Mercer | USA TODAY Sports Images
Amari Cooper tied his own school record with 224 yards receiving and caught three TD passes in the top-ranked Crimson Tide’s 55-44 comeback victory against No. 15 Auburn on Nov. 29 in the highest-scoring Iron Bowl.

Dale Zanine | USA TODAY Sports Images
Blake Sims threw a pair of touchdown passes in an MVP performance that carried top-ranked Alabama to a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff. The Crimson Tide routed Missouri 42-13 in the SEC title game.


Scott Olmos | USA TODAY Sports Images
Marcus Mariota and Oregon trailed Michigan State 27-18, but the No. 3 Ducks would go on to score four unanswered touchdowns for a 46-27 victory Sept. 6 against the No. 7 Spartans.
Russell Isabella | USA TODAY Sports Images
Utah’s Kaelin Clay was celebrating with his teammates after scoring a TD. But he dropped the ball before the goal line. Oregon’s Joe Walker returned it 100 yards for a touchdown in the Ducks’ 51-27 win.

Kirby Lee | USA TODAY Sports Images
Marcus Mariota threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a career-high three scores, and Oregon assured itself a spot in the first College Football Playoff by overwhelming seventh-ranked Arizona 51-13 in the Pac-12 title game.

John David Mercer | USA TODAY Sports Images
Sean Maguire hung in with an up-and-down effort as Jameis Winston’s replacement and Florida State escaped with a 23-17 overtime victory Sept. 20 against No. 22 Clemson.
Melina Vastola | USA TODAY Sports Images
No. 2 Florida State bounced back from a 17-10 halftime deficit and won its 23rd consecutive game by holding off No. 5 Notre Dame 31-27 on Oct. 18.
Jeremy Brevard | USA TODAY Sports Images
Freshman Dalvin Cook had 220 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown in his first college start to help extend the Seminoles’ winning streak to 29 games and win the ACC.

Evan Habeeb | USA TODAY Sports Images
Ohio State blew a 17-0 lead, but recovered to beat Penn State in double-overtime 31-24 on Oct. 25. Joey Bosa came up with a crucial sack to seal the win.
Andrew Weber | USA TODAY Sports Images
J.T. Barrett threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more as No. 14 Ohio State scored almost at will against Michigan State’s defense, beating the eighth-ranked Spartans 49-37 on Nov. 8.
Brian Spurlock | USA TODAY Sports Images
Ohio State’s No. 3 QB looked every bit as good as the other two. Cardale Jones even did something his two all-conference predecessors could not. He led the Buckeyes to a Big Ten title, throwing for 257 yards and three touchdowns in his first start.

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