Dawgs first, Vols sixth in final College Football Playoff rankings

AP photo by John Bazemore / Malaki Starks (24) reacts as fellow Georgia defensive back Christopher Smith (29) returns the Bulldogs' block of an LSU field-goal attempt for a touchdown in the first half of the SEC title game Saturday in Atlanta.

Georgia will defend last season's national championship as the top-seeded team in this year's College Football Playoff.

The Bulldogs, who earned the first 13-0 start in program history with Saturday's 50-30 win over LSU in the Southeastern Conference championship game, are headed back to Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium on New Year's Eve to challenge fourth-seeded Ohio State (11-1) in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

Michigan (13-0) is the second seed and will face third-seeded TCU (12-1) in the other semifinal, which will take place in the Fiesta Bowl near Phoenix.

Alabama and Tennessee, which had matching 10-2 regular-season records, finished fifth and sixth in the final CFP rankings, which were announced early Sunday afternoon.

The Crimson Tide will play Big 12 champion Kansas State (10-3) in the Sugar Bowl, while the Volunteers will play Atlantic Coast Conference champ Clemson (11-2) in the Orange Bowl.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.