For the second straight season, Alabama will play in the College Football Playoff.

The Crimson Tide will face No. 3 Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas in one of two national semifinal matchups on Dec. 31.

“We know what kind of physical, tough teams they have at Michigan State, and it will be a real challenge for our team,” coach Nick Saban said.

No. 1 Clemson plays No. 4 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl in Miami in the other semifinal.

The selection committee made its final verdict on an ESPN broadcast Sunday morning.

Kickoff times will be announced at 2 p.m. CT on ESPN. One semifinal game will be played at 3 p.m. CT, while the other at 7 p.m.

After debuting at No. 4 in the initial poll on Nov. 3, Alabama ranked No. 2 in each of the five weekly polls since, behind No. 1 Clemson. The Crimson Tide secured its place in the final poll after beating Florida, 29-15, in Saturday's SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.

Last season, Alabama entered the four-team playoff ranked No. 1, before losing to No. 4 Ohio State in its semifinal matchup at the Sugar Bowl. The Crimson Tide is the only returning participant.

Of the four qualifying teams, Alabama (12-1) was the only team that did not hold an announcement watch party, though it did last season.

Alabama coach Nick Saban was the head coach of the Crimson Tide's upcoming, Michigan State, for five seasons from 1995-99. Current Spartans coach Mark Dantonio was the defensive backs coach under Saban throughout his tenure in East Lansing.

The Crimson Tide last played Michigan State in the 2011 Capital One Bowl at the conclusion of the 2010 season, routing Dantonio's Spartans, 49-7.

Michigan State (12-1) won the Big Ten championship Saturday night, coming from behind in the final minute to beat Iowa, 16-13.

The Cotton Bowl, held at AT&T Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys play their home games, was also the site of Alabama's 35-17 season-opening win over then-No. 20 Wisconsin in September. The Crimson Tide also played at that same venue to open the 2012 season against Michigan.

All time, Alabama is 19-7-1 in domed stadiums, including a 10-2 mark since 2009 and a 11-4 record under Saban.

Should the Crimson Tide beat Michigan State, it will play the Clemson-Oklahoma winner in the College Football Playoff National Championship at the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona on Jan. 11. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT.

The remaining top 25 in the College Football Playoff rankings will be announced later this afternoon.

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