College Football Playoff Breakdown

The First Ever College Football Playoff National Championship Is a Resounding Success

After weeks of college bowl games, it all finally came to a head Monday evening in Arlington, TX. That’s right: the first ever College Football Playoff National Championship went down at AT&T Stadium—and what a game it was. After beating the Seminoles in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, the Oregon Ducks went on to play the Ohio State Buckeyes, who had their own victory New Year’s Day against the Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl.

The Buckeyes were 14-1 this season, and the Ducks were 13-2. Oregon started things off with a 7-yard touchdown by wide receiver Keanon Lowe in the first quarter. But then Buckeye Running Back Ezekiel Elliot evened things up not long after with a 33-yard touchdown run for Ohio. They then pulled ahead just a few minutes later with another touchdown, followed by another in the second quarter, putting the score at 21-7 Buckeyes.

Ohio State managed to keep their lead for the rest of the game, though a valiant effort from Oregon did nearly manage to even things out in the third quarter, especially after a 23-yard field goal by Aidan Schneider—which followed a 26-yard field goal by Schneider in the second quarter, bringing the score up to 21-20.

Sadly, their shot at redemption was short-lived, as Ezekiel Elliott scored three more touchdowns for the Buckeyes before the end of the game: one in the third quarter, and two more in the fourth, making the final score 42-20 Buckeyes.

It was a tense and hair-raising game all through, but in the end, Ohio State earned their victory. They suffered a number of setbacks this season, including quarterback Braxton Miller’s shoulder injury, followed an ankle fracture by quarterback J.T. Barrett. But both players plan to come back for the 2015 season, and hopefully will be able to lead the Buckeyes to even more victories to come. In the meantime, the College Football Playoff National Championship was a resounding success, and will hopefully continue to be great football entertainment for years to come.

The New Year in College Bowl Games

Happy New Year! 2015 brings us a whole roster of new college football and a slew of bowl games. Let’s take a look at some of the recent highlights.

The most famous and one of the most important, of course, was the Rose Bowl, at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, CA on New Year’s Day. The Oregon Ducks beat the Florida State Seminoles 59-20. The other major New Year’s bowl game, the Sugar Bowl, took place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, and featured the Buckeyes of Ohio State vs. the Alabama Crimson Tide, with the Buckeyes winning 42-35. And don’t forget the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. This year, the Missouri Tigers beat the Minnesota Golden Gophers 33-17.

But what about the rest of the week’s college football bowl games? Well, on Monday the 29th was the Liberty Bowl, wherein the Aggies of Texas A&M beat the West Virginia Mountaineers 45-37. The Music City Bowl took place in the afternoon on the 30th, and Notre Dame narrowly beat the LSU Tigers 31-28. And New Year’s Eve featured the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, wherein the Horned Frogs of TCU crushed the Rebels of Ole Miss, 42-3. There was also the Fiesta Bowl at Phoenix Stadium, where the Boise State Broncos beat the Arizona Wildcats 38-30, and the Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens, which saw the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets beat the Mississippi State Bulldogs 49-34.

There were some good bowl games after the New Year as well. January 2nd was the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, with the Houston Cougars scoring a narrow victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers, 35-34. The next morning at the Birmingham Bowl, the Florida Gators beat the East Carolina Pirates 28-20 at Legion Field in Alabama. Then on the 4th was the GoDaddy Bowl, also in Alabama, featuring the Toledo Rockets, who beat the Arkansas State Red Wolves 63-44.

There’s much more to come in the world of college football! Stay tuned!

Great Bowl Matchups on the Schedule for New Year’s Eve and Day

Great Bowl Matchups on the Schedule for New Year’s Eve and Day

While college football news is focused on the College Football Playoff, there are plenty of other great Bowl games happening around New Year’s that will certainly be worth watching. Along with the four-team playoff, the Selection Committee also brought four other marquee matchups to the table for the Cotton, Orange, Fiesta, and Peach Bowls.

In the Cotton Bowl, the Baylor Bears are getting one last opportunity for redemption after missing out of the College Football Playoff by one spot. They face the two-loss Michigan State Spartans. Considering the Spartans only two losses were to #2 Oregon and #4 Ohio State, the two teams seem to be very well-matched. Look for it to be a shoot-out, as both Baylor and Michigan State are big scorers.

TCU, another team that felt slighted by the Selection Committee, faces Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl. Ole Miss appeared to be a top-flight team in the beginning of the year, but swiftly fell off after losing to LSU, Auburn, and Arkansas in a span of four weeks. TCU should be able to get their revenge for missing the playoffs in this matchup.

The Orange Bowl features formerly Mississippi State, at one point #1 in the country, versus unheralded Georgia Tech. Mississippi State seemed unbeatable for nine weeks, but Alabama edged the team out, and then they lost to Ole Miss two weeks later. Georgia Tech has a stellar run offense, but lost against Duke and North Carolina in two straight weeks, showing that they are certainly vulnerable to even less-than-stellar competition.

Finally, the Fiesta Bowl will pit Boise State against Arizona. Boise State is by far the lowest-ranked team to play one of these major Bowls and you won’t hear much about them in college football news, but they are perennially an exciting team that never loses easily. However, a top-flight program hasn’t really challenged Boise this year, aside from a loss vs Ole Miss. Arizona showed potential after beating Oregon early in the season and a few more wins over ranked opponents, but got dominated 51-13 only a week ago against Oregon. This matchup could be close, depending on which Arizona team shows up.

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Which Team Will Win the College Football Championship?

Which Team Will Win the College Football Championship?

It’s been a long, grueling season in college football, and the competition has never seemed as great. But now that the regular season is over and Champions have been declared, it’s Bowl season. On New Year’s Day, the top four teams as determined by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee will compete for the opportunity to play in the Championship.

The Sugar Bowl features a marquee, if not slightly controversial, matchup between #1 Alabama and #4 Ohio State. Since losing to Ole Miss in their fifth game, the Crimson Tide have been on a roll. They beat five ranked teams in seven weeks, including a dominating and playoff-clinching performance against Mizzou in the SEC Championship. Heisman Trophy finalist Amari Cooper and the suffocating defense are going to be a lot to handle for Ohio State.

Like Alabama, the Buckeyes slipped up early, in an embarrassing loss against Virginia Tech, but pulled it together under Urban Meyer’s lead to win 11 straight. Most impressively, Ohio State made Wisconsin look like a DII program, stomping them 59-0. Both teams have plenty of momentum going into this matchup, but whether or not Ohio State is quite up to Alabama’s level will be worth watching, especially with their third quarterback of the season starting only his second game.

In the Rose Bowl, #2 Oregon will compete against #3 Florida State, national champions just a year ago. Florida State may have had the perfect season in terms of record, but a deeper analysis leads to some bigger questions as to whether or not they will be able to compete against other top-ranked teams. The Seminoles only defeated two teams that were ranked in the final top 25, and neither is in the top 10. They also have a penchant for keeping games too close for too long. Quarterback Marcus Mariota, another Heisman finalist, will be able to take any opportunity he’s given to score for the 12-1 Oregon Ducks. And with the way the Ducks have blown out most of their opponents this year, it might be an early exit from the College Football Playoff for the Seminoles.

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There’s No Games Like Bowls for the Holidays – Last Week’s Bowl Games in Review

Marked by the end of Hanukkah, Christmas Day, and the beginning of Kwanzaa, this past week was hopefully full of holiday cheer for everyone. One thing it was certainly full of, though, was college bowl games. There were 13 major ones, many of them brand new, beginning Monday the 22nd, and capping off with 5 on Saturday. Let’s check out the results;

Miami Beach Bowl – On Monday, this brand new bowl game at Marlins Park saw the Memphis Tigers beat the Cougars of Brigham Young University 55-48.

Boca Raton Bowl – Another brand new one, this one saw the Thundering Herd of Marshall U beat the Northern Illinois Huskies 52-23 at FAU stadium on Tuesday—the only bowl outside the playoffs to feature two conference champions.

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl – The Navy Midshipmen took on the San Diego State Aztecs on Tuesday night at Qualcomm Stadium. San Diego took an early lead in the first quarter and kept it through most of the game, but the Navy put on a final burst in the fourth quarter, to win 17-16.

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl – The Central Michigan Chippewas and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers got to spend Christmas Eve in the Bahamas for another brand new bowl at Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau. The Hilltoppers narrowly beat the Chippewas 49-48.

Hawaii Bowl – Fresno State and Rice University were almost as lucky, spending their Christmas Eve at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. Sadly, Fresno was a bit less lucky than Rice, getting crushed 30-6.

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl – The day after Christmas saw the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs beat the Fighting Illini of Illinois University, 35-18 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

Quick Lane Bowl – In yet another inaugural bowl game, the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers University took on the North Carolina Tar Heels at Ford Field in Detroit Friday evening, beating them 40-21.

Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl – In the final game of Friday evening, the UCF Knights faced the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Tropicana Field in Florida, with NC State winning 34-27.

Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman – Saturday’s block of games kicked off at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, where the Virginia Tech Hokies beat the Cincinnati Bearcats, 33-17.

Hyundai Sun Bowl – In one of the older bowl games (played since 1935), the Arizona State Sun Devils played the Duke Blue Devils at Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, beating them 36-31.

Duck Commander Independence Bowl – The newly renamed/branded Independence Bowl went down Saturday afternoon at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, LA, where the South Carolina Gamecocks beat the Miami Hurricanes, 24-21.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl – The Nittany Lions of Penn State took home the George M. Steinbrenner Trophy after narrowly defeating the Boston College Eagles 31-30 in the fourth quarter, Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.

National University Holiday Bowl – Another tense bout at Qualcomm Stadium, the USC Trojans beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers 45-42 in Saturday’s final game.

That wraps things up for this week. The coming week promises even more great college football with a host of great bowl games, including the original and best Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. Stay tuned for continued coverage.

Butch Jones Gives Vols TE Surprise Bowl Gift

Butch Jones has been credited with the revival of the Tennessee Volunteers football program. His recent success with the program earned him a contract extension from the University especially since the Vols will be playing in their first bowl game since 2010. Jones decided to award TE Alex Ellis a scholarship as the team prepares for the Tax Slayer Bowl against Iowa. The junior TE has played in all 12 games for the Vols this season and has had six catches for 115 yards and one touchdown.

Click here to read the rest of the story by Greg Ostendorf on ESPN.com.

 

The Big 12 Gets Snubbed by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee

The Big 12 Gets Snubbed by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee

Before the week 16 games, TCU was ranked #3 by the Playoff Selection Committee, in front of Florida State, Ohio State, and Baylor. TCU dismantled an inferior Iowa State 55-3, cementing an impressive season where they ranked second in points for and 16th in points against. Then, following the games, the College Football Playoff news was announced, and TCU was bumped down to #6. Ohio State moved to #4 and gained the final spot in the playoffs just ahead of #5 Baylor. Unsurprisingly, this change led to plenty of anger from the Big 12 programs, as the whole conference felt snubbed as a result.

In the minds of the Horned Frogs, they did everything they needed to in order to get a playoff bid. The team beat everyone it should have, not slipping up against an inferior team like Baylor (vs. West Virginia) or Ohio State (vs. Virginia Tech). Their only loss was a hard-fought 3-point defeat at the hands of Baylor, an equally matched opponent. TCU never really had a bad game, and they surely thought that they deserved to hold onto a playoff spot after winning their game so convincingly while being ranked third.

Baylor’s case is just as strong, if not stronger, than TCU’s. The Bears defeated TCU head-to-head, a fact that was clearly taken into account when other programs gained/lost consideration with the Selection Committee. Baylor also won every game convincingly aside from their slip-up against West Virginia, and they didn’t lose a game to a ranked opponent while scoring more than any other team in college football. The fact that Baylor jumped ahead of TCU only in the final Playoff rankings adds even more to the confusion as to why they weren’t ahead in the first place.

When people heard this College Football Playoff news, there was some confusion and even outrage. Nevertheless, the Selection Committee has spoken, and Ohio State will be playing for the Championship. Now TCU and Baylor will be focusing on looking their best in the Peach and Cotton Bowls, respectively, in order to prove to the nation that they deserve to be ranked among the best.

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Miami Beach Bowl Ends in Brawl

The Memphis Tigers and BYU Cougars put on quite the performance for the fans that attended the inaugural Miami Beach Bowl. The Cougars were looking to clinch the win in overtime with a 45-yard field goal until Jake Elliott of Memphis kicked a 54-yard field goal to send the game into a second overtime. The quarterbacks for both teams shared similar stats except for Lynch who accounted for all seven of Memphis’ touchdown, four passing and three rushing. BYU’s Christian Stewart went 23 of 48 for 348 yards, with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Memphis’ QB Paxton Lynch went 24 of 46 for 306 yards, with four touchdowns and three interceptions. In the end, the Tigers walked away with the 55-48 victory over the Cougars, unfortunately some Memphis players opted to celebrate in front of the BYU bench which led to a brawl among the players. There has been no word on any disciplinary action for any of the players but it is a shame that the Memphis’ first bowl victory since 2005 and their first 10 win season since 1938 will be overshadowed by this brawl that occurred.

Click here to read the rest of the article by The Associated Press on USAToday.com.

Is Ohio State really a contender?

Is Ohio State really a contender?

In the weeks leading up to the Selection Committee’s announcement of which four teams would compete for the Championship, most of the debate surrounded which Big 12 team deserved the fourth spot more: TCU or Baylor. However, to the shock of many, the Selection Committee left both teams out, and instead picked Ohio State to be the #4 team. While the Buckeyes record certainly speaks for itself, many still question whether or not Ohio State can be a College Football Playoff contender.

There are plenty of reasons to dismiss Ohio State. The most obvious is the issue at quarterback. Going into the year, Braxton Miller was the expected starter, but he re-injured his shoulder in August, ending his season before it even began. After going 1-1 with J.T. Barrett at quarterback, he led the Buckeyes to 10 straight wins before breaking his ankle against Michigan. Third-string quarterback Cardale Jones was thrust into the starting role in the Big Ten Championship game, and surprisingly picked up right where Barrett left off. But while that performance was impressive, can a third-string QB really compete against Alabama? The Crimson Tide have one of the best defenses in the league, unquestionably better than any the Buckeyes have faced so far. This matchup is certainly the least preferable one for the Buckeyes, a team that specializes in shootouts.

While there are concerns, Ohio State has consistently proven that it can beat the odds and win games when it matters most. After the loss against Virginia Tech, where the offense looked terrible, the Buckeyes scored more than 30 points every game, usually even topping 50. They beat three ranked teams down the stretch. The Big Ten Championship game was the most impressive by far, a 59-0 domination of Wisconsin with their third-string quarterback. The usually hot Wisconsin run offense, led by Melvin Gordon, was completely stifled. While they will surely be a worthy College Football Playoff contender, facing a seasoned Alabama defense might be insurmountable. However, if Jones and the Buckeyes offense can start off hot, they might be able to pull away and make it impossible for Alabama to keep up.

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Georgia OC Bobo is Likely Next Coach at CSU

According to sources, Georgia Bulldogs offensive coordinator, Mike Bobo is expected to accept the job offer as the next head coach at Colorado State. Bobo is set to replace former Rams coach jum McElwain who left Colorado State to become head coach that the University of Florida. Bobo has nearly spent his entire career at the Georgia where he served as the offensive coordinator since 2007. Bobo was an important piece to the Bulldogs two SEC titles and the five SEC East Championships. During his tenure with Georgia, many consider Bobo responsible for recruiting top talents like Matthew Stafford, Aaron Murray, Nick Chubb, and many more. It will interesting to see how Bobo transitions to a leadership roll and if he can lead the Rams to another 10+ win season or even a College Football Playoff ticket next year.

Click here to read the rest of the article by Bruce Feldman on Foxsports.com.

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