“Wanting and waiting, Dreams are fading, Things will never be the same, Ever-changing and rearranging, Will you notice anyway?”
It has happened: a change for the better. We have officially witnessed (if you were watching last night of course) the evolution of college football in their quest to catch up with nearly every other sport. It took them long enough, but the playoff has paid off (probably literally for some universities, and maybe a booster or two or hundreds). Let’s see how we got there.
January 1st, 2015: Oregon 59 Florida St. 20
Ouch. I mean, “Holy quack.” Maybe Florida St. was awarded a courtesy spot in the playoff because the Ducks made them look bad, really bad. That’s not an entirely true statement; the Seminoles had to be good, they hadn’t lost a game in twenty-nine contests, but four turnovers and poor defense was not a healthy equation to stop Marcus Mariota and the mighty Ducks (am I allowed to call them that without getting sued by Disney?). With five touchdowns in the third quarter alone, Oregon ran the Seminoles out of Pasadena and back to Tallahassee, and Jameis Winston into the draft.
January 1st, 2015: Ohio St. 42 Alabama 35
On the other hand, I guess the system does work. The controversial four-seed Buckeyes pulled off the upset of the number-one ranked Crimson Tide. In a the battle of shades of red, the hits were harder than most games, the athleticism was extraordinary on both sides of the ball for both teams, but if you watched the game, you know that the Alabama punter, JK Scott, stole the show. However, on the winning side, Ezekiel Elliot rushed for 230 yards against one of the best rush defenses in the nation, including an 85-yard scamper that served as the winning touchdown.
January 12th, 2015: Ohio St. 42 Oregon 20
O-H! I-O! OH-wow. Ezekiel Elliot flexed his muscles and really puffy cheeks again, making people wonder why he wasn’t in Heisman contention, and if his tonsils had been removed lately. His follow up to a record-setting Sugar Bowl performance was simply a record-setting national championship performance: 246 yards and four touchdowns. The reigning Heisman winner, Marcus Mariota, was shut down for the most part by a strong and athletic defense, Cardale Jones proved he doesn’t stress out like a normal human being, and the game was dominated by a band of brothers who faced adversity all season long: Criticism towards the program and their conference, doubt, four costly turnovers in the championship game, losing two great quarterbacks, and the tragic falling of a teammate. After all that, Brutus is going to Disney World, and the Ducks are going to rethink why they didn’t wear any green or yellow on their uniforms; probably the biggest mistake of last night’s game, Phil Knight.
We have our first ever college playoff champion and it wasn’t a SEC team (surprise, surprise). The heralded SEC West went a disappointing 2-5 in their bowl matches while the SEC East had to pick up the slack and win all their games to lift the conference above .500 for the postseason (7-5). As for the two teams who thought they were shunned: In the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, TCU defeated one of those SEC West teams, Ole Miss, 42-3 and Baylor lost to Michigan St., falling 42-41 in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl. Michigan St. was the only team to play both Oregon and Ohio State this year, their only two loses.
The University of Oregon Ducks had an amazing season, and deserved to be in the position they were in more than any other team, so congratulations to them. The Ohio St. University Buckeyes are the national champions, and no one can argue that fact. The playoff was a success. Now to work on some of those sponsor names for the remaining bowls. We’re looking at you, Franklin American Mortgage and Taxslayer.