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The eighth chapter of the College Football Playoff kicks off today and the participants make it feel as fresh as any incarnation since the inaugural semifinals. It is the first time in seven years that the playoff won’t feature Clemson. It also won’t include mainstays such as Ohio State, Oklahoma and Notre Dame.
There is No. 1 Alabama (12-1), of course, pitted against No. 4 Cincinnati (13-0), the most unlikely qualifier in playoff history. And there is No. 2 Michigan, making its playoff debut against No. 3 Georgia (12-1), appearing in the playoff for the first time in five years.
There is a lot to look forward to. There is a lot on the line. There are a lot of unknowns.