Well, we’re one day into the College Football Playoff era, and already the format looks brilliant. New Year’s Day gave us two amazing match-ups, with Oregon derailing Florida State, 59-20, in the Rose Bowl and Ohio State stunning Alabama, 42-35 in the Sugar Bowl.
“It’s really simple: Wow,” Fox Sports college football insider Charles Davis said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I thought it was a spectacular day. The buildup for once did not exceed the actual games, and really, we got one great game and one game that – because of the styles and then the way points exploded – was entertaining. And we also will still have what we’ve always had in football, college football especially: controversy. Because of what TCU did to Ole Miss, they were able to really make their case that they should have been part of the four.”
As it stands, the chosen four gave us two dynamite storylines. Oregon led Florida State 18-13 at halftime before running away with the Rose Bowl, outscoring the Seminoles 41-7 in the second half. The 39-point loss was FSU’s most lopsided loss since 1983 and its most lopsided bowl loss ever.
Interestingly enough, FSU quarterback Jameis Winston said that the game could have gone either way and that the Seminoles beat themselves with five turnovers.
“Well, of course naturally he would say that,” Davis said. “Yeah, you helped contribute to your loss. And it didn’t catch up with you through the year, (but) it caught up with you in this game. Look, even though I voted them No. 1 – because (being) the only (undefeated) team in the Power Five has to count for something – I’m not naive. It wasn’t that I couldn’t see. And I said before this game, if they are going to play the way that they’ve played all year long and get down 14 (or) 17 and make a patented comeback against Oregon, they’re fooling themselves. I said if they got down 14 (or) 17, they could lose by 30. For once, I actually came pretty close.”
Ohio State, meanwhile, proved its mettle – and silenced the SEC – by physically overwhelming Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
Not bad for Urban Meyer’s return to SEC country.
“When we talked about this game going into it, tell me if you heard this narrative: Well you know if you give Nick Saban three weeks to prepare for someone, (he’s tough to beat),’” Davis said. “Every time I heard that, I said, ‘But the guy on the other side has won two national titles, and he’s getting three weeks, too.’ And you know something? In this game, that came true. You know why? Did you see how Cardale Jones ran the football in this game? Was that not an adjustment? Cardale Jones is 250 pounds. He’s not going to beat you to the corner, but you put 250 going forward with power? That’s how Urban Meyer ran the quarterback run game with Tebow. That’s how Dak Prescott ran it under Dan Mullen this year at Mississippi State, who was, what? Oh, that’s right, the offensive coordinator for Tebow.
“Big, thick, strong quarterbacks aren’t going to make you miss as often outside, but in the hole, they will drop a shoulder on you and run through you,” Davis continued. “And Jones did that a few times last night. I thought Meyer made some great adjustments as the game went on, but I thought the key to everything last night was once again the unsung offensive line of Ohio State, which was miserable when the season began. They’ve gotten better all year long under Ed Warriner’s tutelage. And in this game, Alabama overwhelmed them early (and) Jones couldn’t get much done, (but) the line adjusted (and) slowed things down. Now they could not just run the all with Ezekiel Elliott, but now they opened things up for Cardale Jones to throw the ball. And as the game went on, did his confidence not swell before your eyes? But I thought the offensive line was the key to that.”