Week 15 finally settled the argument of who will be represented in the first ever college football playoff…sort of. There were six teams, all with great resumes, and only four heard their names called Sunday morning on the selection show. But now we are past that and have one incredible game on the slate for this Saturday, Army-Navy. It’s an event that every sports fan should attend at least once as it is one of the premier rivalries in all of sports. There might not be a more hard fought game all year.
What We Learned Last Week
Stop the “One True Champion” Statement
The top four teams headed to the college football playoff were released Sunday morning and disagreement could be found throughout social media as Big 12 fan bases cried foul. The selection committee seemed to get caught up in the brand name factor which lead to TCU and Baylor, and the Big 12 as a whole, being left out of college football’s first playoff. The creation of this playoff was intended to limit criticism and produce the “one true champion” ESPN commericals have been promising. Ohio State certainly produced an amazing win when they shut out Wisconsin 59-0, but their resume certainly wasn’t without flaws. The Big 10 as a conference was weak this year, and everyone on the committee seems to put that home loss to Virginia Tech out of their mind. Last, if TCU was ranked third in the second to last poll that was released, how does a 55-3 win make them drop back to No. 6? It just doesn’t make any sense. Both Baylor and TCU would produce a more competitive match-up for Oregon than Florida State.
Big Games Meant Big Blowouts
Arizona, Wisconsin and Mizzou all had one thing in common last weekend as the conference championship games finished-up: None were up to the task. Oregon put a slow start behind them and throttled the Wildcats, finishing with a 51-13 victory. The Tigers from Missouri tried to hang in with the Crimson Tide for the first half, but found itself overmatched on the ground as Alabama ran the ball at will. Mizzou fans found themselves on the wrong side of a 42-13 final, which allowed Alabama to lock up the playoffs No. 1 seed. Wisconsin came into their game against Ohio State with one of the nation’s most formidable rushing attacks and left with their tales between their legs. The Badgers will now try and put the 59-0 blowout behind them as they begin bowl preparations for Auburn.
The Big 12 Needs a Title Game
The reason the Big 12 doesn’t have a representative in the first ever college football playoff is simple: They didn’t have a title game. Had they crowned a title game champion, either Baylor or TCU would likely be on their way to the playoff. The lack of an extra quality opponent for the Bears and Horned Frogs didn’t allow them to stay ahead of Ohio State, despite superior resumes and much more quality opponents throughout the Big 12.
What We are Looking Forward To
Army Takes on Navy
ESPN’s College GameDay heads to Baltimore for the 115th annual Army-Navy Game this Saturday. There are very few games that happen in college football each year that have a deeper meaning than the one that takes place between the Black Knights and Midshipmen. This isn’t a game that will have any effect on the college football playoff or see any of its seniors depart to playing on Sundays in the NFL. The departing seniors will join sides and begin fulfilling their military obligations to defend this great country immediately following graduation. This is one of the best rivalries in all of sports, if not thee best. It will be the only college game slated for Saturday and will have the dedicated attention of college football fans everywhere when it kicks off at 3 p.m. eastern time.
— Navy Athletics (@NavyAthletics) December 9, 2014
Let’s Go Bowling
#2 Oregon vs. #2 Florida State – Rose Bowl Game
The Semifinal match-up between the Ducks and the Seminoles will likely be a battle of the last two Heisman Trophy winners if Ducks’ QB, Marcus Mariota, takes home this year’s honor as everyone is expecting him to. Since Oregon lost in early October to Arizona, they have dominated every opponent they have faced. The Seminoles on the other hand have repeatedly found themselves in deep holes and found a way to prevail late. Oregon will be right at home on the west coast in a venue they know well. Florida State will be far from the friendly confines of Tallahassee and are facing a far superior opponent to anyone they have seen all year. Mariota is a better version of Justin Thomas, the Georgia Tech quarterback that the Seminoles had little answers for in the ACC title game.
#1 Alabama vs. #4 Ohio State – All State Sugar Bowl
Urban Meyer and Nick Saban revive their old rivalry in New Orleans on January 1st. The Buckeyes snuck their way in to the playoff with a 59-0 pounding of Wisconsin in the Big 10 title game behind third-string quarterback, Cardale Jones. If there is one thing the Buckeyes have the ability to do very well, it’s stretch the field. And if there is one thing Alabama has struggled with over the past few games, it’s defend balls thrown deep down field. Auburn put up a good chunk of their 600 yards of offense against the Tide on deep balls and it’s how Ole Miss was able to beat Alabama. If the Buckeyes find success with the deep ball, this game may be closer than the ten-point spread would suggest.
Michigan State vs Baylor – Cotton Bowl Classic
This is one heck of a match-up as both the Bears and the Spartans have incredible quarterbacks, both capable of heading to the NFL. Connor Cook for the Spartans and Bryce Petty from Baylor will look to put on a show through the air when the teams face off January 1st. Both teams were ranked in the Top 8 of the final playoff rankings, so this match-up is sure to be very competitive.
Ole Miss vs TCU think – Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
At the beginning of November, this could have very easily been forecasted to be a first round match-up in the college football playoff. The Rebels fell on some hard times behind some key injuries and heartbreaking close losses. What will define this game is how the Horned Frogs come out and play. Will they be a team that has mailed it in for the season after being left out of the playoff or will they come out as a team trying to make a statement to everyone who doubted them? Ole Miss is a deeply talented team, and TCU must prepare thoroughly for them or Trevone Boykin. The rest of the offense will find it to be tough sledding against a very good Rebel defense.