The Ohio State Buckeyes were spurned by the College Football Playoff again.
The CFP committee chose Alabama over Ohio State in a controversial decision announced Sunday afternoon.
The Crimson Tide join defending champion Clemson, Oklahoma and Georgia in the fourth college football final four.
Ohio State won the first CFP in 2014 and was the favorite to repeat a year later but missed the field in ’15.
Alabama won it in 2015 and lost to the Tigers in the title game last year.
Like the Crimson Tide this season, the 2015 Buckeyes were thought to be one of the best teams in sheer quality but lacked on-field accomplishments. Neither played in their conference title game or could brag of much in the way of quality wins.
Last season Ohio State returned to the CFP and was beaten by Clemson in the first round.
The 2016 Buckeyes made it despite also missing their conference title game, but they had played one of the toughest schedules in the country.
This time around, the debate between the Buckeyes and the Crimson Tide essentially boiled down to a tug of war between the importance of positive (number of quality wins, conference championship) and negative (bad losses) factors.
Alabama only lost one game, but the Crimson Tide were left out of the SEC Championship game.
Ohio State won the Big Ten and finished with more high-quality wins but suffered a decisive defeat to the Sooners in September and a surprising blowout loss at Iowa in November.