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Clemson, 'Bama, Michigan State and Oklahoma are in playoffs...Carolina 12-0

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GRAPEVINE, Texas (AP) — To nobody's surprise, Clemson, Alabama, Michigan State and Oklahoma are the four schools in the second annual College Football Playoff. Clemson will face Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl while in the Cotton Bowl Alabama will go against Michigan State in the national semifinals on New Year's Eve.

UNDATED (AP)— Clemson also is the near-unanimous pick in the final regular-season Associated Press poll. The Tigers got 59 first-place votes with second-ranked Alabama getting nine and third-ranked Michigan State one. Oklahoma and Stanford round out the top five.

ATLANTA (AP) — As expected, Georgia has hired Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart as its new head coach. He replaces Mark Richt (rihkt), who parted company with Georgia and then took over as head coach at Miami of Florida.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The New England Patriots have blown 14-point leads for two consecutive weeks and now they've blown their lead in the AFC playoff race, too. With a stunning 35-28 loss to Philadelphia Eagles, Tom Brady and the Patriots have fallen into a three-way tie with the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals for best record in the AFC at 10-2.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Carolina Panthers are 12-0 for the first time in franchise history, but it wasn't easy. Cam Newton threw five TD passes and twice had to lead the Panthers back from fourth-quarter deficits in beating the New Orleans Saints 41-38.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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