Last night’s Ohio State victory over Oregon in North Texas concluded the inaugural College Football Playoff. All indications would lead us to believe, it was quite successful.
Until 2014, we had no clear cut way to determine a champion in what is arguably the most popular college sport in the country. The BCS got us close but still opened itself up for criticism with the inclusion of only two teams. Now with a four-team playoff, we have a much clearer picture of the national championship in college football.
Here are a few of my reflections on the inaugural College Football Playoff:
- Ohio State was a deserving champion. They beat the two best teams in the country within the span of two weeks. That’s quite an accomplishment. To do so with their third string quarterback is all the more impressive.
- Cardale Jones played well, but Ezekiel Elliott was the reason Ohio State won. He ran for 246 yards on 36 carries and scored four touchdowns on the biggest stage there is. That was quite an impressive display for the sophomore from St. Louis. In fact, in his last three games—wins over Michigan State, Alabama, and Oregon, Elliott had 200+ yards in each game. Elliott was the work horse. He’s the reason they are national champions.
- Urban Meyer is a great coach. Much will be said this week as to whether Meyer is one of the greatest of all time. I’m not sure he’s in that conversation yet, but it’s well worth considering. He’s definitely either 1a or 1b in college football right now with Nick Saban. To argue otherwise would be absolutely foolish.
- TCU didn’t belong in the top four. Sorry, Horned Frogs, but you were the fifth wheel here. If you want to argue about who might not have been worthy, Florida State’s performance would make them the most likely candidate. But leaving out an undefeated team was not going to happen.
- B1G vs. SEC will dominate discussion, but what about the Pac-12? Since the fall of USC and Pete Carroll’s exit to the NFL, the PAC-12 has not had a team that could compete on a national stage other than Oregon. And even the Ducks are 0-3 in big games against elite competition (loses to OSU, LSU, and Auburn). Is college football really just about the B1G and the SEC? Can the Big 12, ACC, or Pac-12 really be considered contenders?
- Four teams was great, but what about eight teams? As I wrote in my 2015 predictions, I hope the format stays at four teams. The urgency provides by just those few spots makes for a much more compelling season and also provides for a worthy finale. Eight teams would water down the product, diminish the urgency, and open the door for teams who really shouldn’t be there. Besides, this was a 15-game season for Ohio State and Oregon. That is more than enough for college players.
What would you add to this list? Were you satisfied with the inaugural College Football Playoff?