NEW YORK — College football will have its biggest stage in the playoff’s four-year history on Saturday night, when a national championship game between No. 3 Alabama and No. 1 Ohio State will be played on ESPN.
The College Football Playoffs will be a two-team affair, with Alabama playing Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl and the Buckeyes playing Ohio on a neutral field in the Peach Bowl.
The semifinal game between the two No. 2 teams will be the only time in the 12-year playoff era that a national champion has not played in the Cotton and Rose Bowls.
The Sugar Bowl, which began its life in the 1950s, was played between No, 4 Notre Dame and No, 8 Stanford in the early 1970s.
The Sugar Bowl was played in Pasadena, Calif., and the Rose was played at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, from 1972-72.
The Big Ten has the longest history of making a national title game, having hosted two championship games during the 1950’s, 1950’s and 1951’s, when it played in Miami.
It also has the most national championships in college football.
Last year, Ohio State and Alabama were in a dead heat for the College Basketball Playoffs title, but a finalist between the Buckeye and Crimson Tide became a semifinalist with a 72-61 win over Ohio State.
The Crimson Tide won in overtime, 61-59, while Ohio State lost in the first half.
The Buckeyes are favored to win their third national title in five years and first since 2007.
The Big Ten is also favored to claim the league’s first national title since 1984.
There will be no Sugar Bowls this season, instead the Cotton will host the College World Series in 2021.