If I had only listened to my Uncle Dave, I might have had more success in picking the winners in the first two playoff games in the inaugural College Football Playoff. He is an absolute football guru with incomparable football knowledge.
But seriously, who was expecting that? Florida State’s collapse was the result of 4 costly turnovers in the third quarter, turning a 25-20 deficit into a blowout of epic proportions. Known as second half team, Florida State did well enough to keep within striking distance for one of their signature comebacks. I said in my earlier column that Winston would have to play mistake free for FSU to win this game. He was far from it. To be fair, his team did not help him much at all, fumbling often and dropping very catchable passes. But at the same time, everything seemed difficult for Winston. He made tough throws that didn’t need to be that hard. And as everything collapsed around him, Winston imploded as well. A turnover filled third quarter sank FSU before they had a chance to do anything in the fourth. Winston will go out on a sour note with the only loss of his college career coming in his final game. On the other side, everything seemed fluid and easy for the ducks and Heisman winner Marcus Mariota. By the end of the game, Florida State’s defense quit on themselves, allowing anyone wearing green to slash through them for 25 yards or more. Oregon blew past Florida State defenders that were always a step slow, running over and around anybody in a gold helmet. Mariota played well, but Oregon’s defense really dictated the outcome of this game.
The Keys to this game were:
Whether Winston could match Mariota pass for pass and play mistake free football-Failure on multiple levels. He wasn’t given much help, but he was unable to rise above the adversity.
Whether or not Florida State’s vaunted defensive line could contain Mariota and Oregon running back Royce Freeman- Florida State’s D-Line failed to properly defend the option and they looked lost and confused against the many facets of Oregon’s offense.
The game became a blowout due to Florida State’s inability to get out of their own way on offense and how uninspired their defense played.
The real shocker, though, was the Sugar Bowl down in Louisiana. The underdog Ohio State Buckeyes, who squeezed into the CFP at the last minute on their third quarterback, versus the Evil Empire led by Sith Lord Darth Saban, the ALA-BAMA CRIMSON TIDE! Outside of the extremely devoted faithful of The Ohio State University, few predicted a Buckeye victory in this one. I went against the grain in picking FSU over Oregon, but I thought this one was a slam dunk. The tide had been rolling since a narrow victory over Arkansas early in the season and they looked unstoppable up until they experienced a humbling loss that evaporated their National Championship dreams for the second straight year. As for the Buckeyes, they were on their third string quarterback and had little in the way of nationally recognized star power. Sims, Cooper, Henry, and Yeldon seemed to be an unstoppable force, but the Ohio State defense stepped up in a big way. In fact, the whole team rose to the occasion. Evan Spencer had a key onside recovery on special teams and even threw a touchdown pass on a trick play. Ezekiel Elliot averaged 11.5 yards per carry and had two touchdowns, including an 85-yarder that put the Buckeyes ahead for good. Cardale Jones made some mistakes, but he also had a few plays that impressed. The Buckeye defense played well down the stretch, intercepting Alabama Quarterback Blake Sims three times. Sims has played well this year, but he has had some ugly games. Sims wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t enough versus an Ohio State Defense that bent but did not break, and contained Amari Cooper to 71 yards on 9 catches. Overall, Ohio State managed a shocking upset by playing together, as a team, rather than relying on a few key players. Ohio State now faces another seemingly perfect team. They haven’t let being an underdog stop them in the past. I doubt they will let it affect them in the future.
Cardale Jones leaps over a couple defenders. All in a day’s work. Credit for the image goes to: http://www.mercedsunstar.com/sports/article5314983.html
For the second straight year, Alabama loses their national championship hopes with a late season loss when ranked No.1 in the nation. Credit for the image goes to: http://www.sportsgrid.com
Florida State shot themselves in the foot multiple times, something that you can’t afford to do against Oregon. Credit for the Image goes to: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/02/sports/ncaafootball/oregon-thrashes-florida-state-in-rose-bowl-and-heads-to-national-championship-game.html?_r=0
Things did not go as planned for FSU. Credit for the Image goes to: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/college/rose-bowl-no-2-oregon-routs-no-3-florida-st-semifinal-article-1.2063316
On to the next one. Credit for the Image goes to: http://dailyemerald.com/2015/01/01/photos-oregon-ducks-conquer-florida-state-seminoles-59-20-at-the-rose-bowl/
Ditto. Credit for the Image goes to: http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2015/01/02/ohio-st-stuns-no-1-alabama-in-sugar-bowl-will-face-oregon-for-national-title/