Quarterback Mac Jones and Alabama still own the top seed in the College Football Playoffs as they prepare to play Florida for the Southeastern Conference championship. Michael Woods/Associated Press

Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State will enter championship weekend in position to make the College Football Playoff with very little drama.

The top five teams were locked into their places Tuesday night for the fourth straight week, with the Crimson Tide (10-0) leading the way as it prepares to play Florida for the Southeastern Conference championship.

The Fighting Irish (10-0) are second and Clemson is third going into their Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.

Ohio State (5-0) is fourth going into the Big Ten title game against Northwestern, and Texas A&M is on deck at No. 5. The Aggies host Tennessee in their last regular-season game Saturday.

If all the favorites win – that includes Clemson (9-1) in the rematch with Notre Dame – the current top four likely would be reordered a bit and placed in the semifinals.

If the Irish beat the Tigers for the second time this season, the selection committee’s job becomes a little trickier.

After Texas A&M (7-1), Iowa State (8-2) is sixth heading into the Big 12 title game against No. 10 Oklahoma. No team with two losses has ever made the playoff.

Florida (8-2) dropped only one spot to seventh after losing as a big favorite to LSU. Georgia (7-2) is eighth and Cincinnati (8-0) is ninth after not playing for two weeks because of COVID-19 issues.

The unbeaten Bearcats host Tulsa, which is 23rd, in the American Athletic Conference title game.

INDIANA-PURDUE: Indiana and Purdue have squared off on the football field every year since 1920. Now, their rivalry game for the Old Oaken Bucket has been canceled for the second time in two weeks – and the third time this season. Athletic Directors Scott Dolson and Mike Bobinski said Friday’s game had been scrapped because of continuing concerns over COVID-19.

“As we stated last week, we know the history and tradition of this great rivalry game and how much it means to our current students, alumni and fans,” they said Tuesday. “Both universities worked extremely hard in an effort to play, but at this time it just isn’t possible.”

The final month of the season, including bowl games, is likely to be affected by the pandemic, just as the regular season was. Approximately 125 games since late August have been postponed or canceled.

In Indiana, the cancellation came just as the Boilermakers (2-4) appeared ready to resume football activities after pausing them a week ago on the same day Indiana took the same step.

It’s unclear whether the cancellation will end a bizarre year which began with Purdue Coach Jeff Brohm missing the season opener after testing positive for COVID-19.

“We’re not looking down that road,” Brohm said Monday when asked whether Purdue might be interested in playing in a bowl game since there is no minimum number of wins needed this season.

The cancellation is a disappointing blow to the Hoosiers (6-1), who are having one of their best seasons in decades. The Hoosiers haven’t won a bowl game since 1991.

SOUTH CAROLINA: New coach Shane Beamer has received a five-year contract worth $13.75 million. Beamer, 43, was named to replace fired Will Muschamp earlier this month. Beamer’s contract was approved by the South Carolina Board of Trustees on Tuesday.

Beamer will make $2.75 million per season with a base salary of $1.1 million and guaranteed compensation of $1.65 million from outside rights holders. The first-time head coach can achieve several bonuses depending on the team’s play ranging from $200,000 for reaching the Southeastern Conference title game to $1 million for winning the national championship.

The university would owe Beamer 65% of his annual salary – some $1.78 million – for each year remaining on the contract should it terminate the deal without cause. Beamer would also owe the school should he choose to leave before the end of the deal, paying $7 million if he goes in the next year with the amount reduced by $1 million per season over the contract’s length.

South Carolina owes Muschamp close to $16 million on the buyout of his contract, which had three years remaining when he was dismissed in November.

BIG TEN: Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, according to a vote by conference coaches and media released Tuesday.

A Heisman Trophy finalist in 2019 when he delivered one of the most productive seasons by a Buckeyes quarterback, Fields has been spectacular this year for the third-ranked Buckeyes. The junior leads the nation in completion percentage and the Big Ten in total yards per game by a wide margin at 392.2. He has 1,407 yards passing with 15 touchdowns and three interceptions in five games.

The Buckeyes (5-0) are scheduled to play Northwestern (5-1) in the Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis on Saturday.

Fields, the Big Ten Quarterback of the Year, was picked first-team, all-conference by both the coaches and media. So were running backs Tyler Goodson of Iowa and Mohamed Ibrahim of Minnesota; guards Kendrick Green of Illinois and Wyatt Davis of Ohio State; and tackles Alaric Jackson of Iowa and Thayer Munford of Ohio State.

BOWL CANCELED: The first bowl game scheduled to played this season has been canceled.

The Frisco Bowl scheduled for Saturday was called off because SMU is having COVID-19 issues. The Mustangs were scheduled to play Texas-San Antonio in Frisco, Texas.

UTSA will instead play in the First Responder Bowl at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on SMU’s campus outside Dallas on Dec. 26 against an opponent to be determined.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.