College Football Playoff: Thoughts on Oregon & Ohio State wins – NewsOK.com
Quick thoughts on the college football semifinals Thursday:
1. The committee’s infatuation with Alabama was exposed. We kept focusing on TCU vs. Baylor, or TCU/Baylor vs. Ohio State, or Florida State’s slide, or Florida State’s climb from fourth to third in the final poll. But all season, the committee seemed to love Alabama, and that love was based on previous years’ results, or the old eye test. And like we’ve been saying, eyewitness testimony is less reliable than scientific evidence.
The committee kept penalizing Florida State for narrow victories but never penalized Alabama for the same. The Tide narrowly escaped Arkansas, 14-13. The Tide went to overtime with LSU. The Tide let Mississippi State back in the game and the result was a 25-20 final. Bama even lost to Ole Miss, which Florida State never did.
Alabama was a good team but not a vintage Bama team. No way did Alabama deserve the No. 1 seed over Oregon. No way.
2. Alabama’s best player was its punter. J.K. Scott kept booming 60-yard punts or nailing Ohio State inside its 10-yard line or both. Without Scott, Bama might have been cooked far more quickly than the final play.
3. Ohio State’s quarterback play is remarkable. Cardale Jones entered the season as a third-teamer and ascended to the top job because of injury. Braxton Miller was an excellent player. J.T. Barrett was very efficient. Both went down. Jones came on and was superb against both Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game and Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
4. Why doesn’t Alabama run the ball more? Derrick Henry carried 13 times for 95 yards. T.J. Yeldon carried 10 times for 47 yards. Bama snapped the ball 70 times and ran its tailbacks 23 times. That’s absurd.
5. Ezekiel Elliott did not make all-Big Ten tailback. That honor went to Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and Indiana’s Tevin Coleman. The Ohio State tailback was not second-team all-Big Ten. That honor went to Minnesota’s David Cobb and Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah. Elliott did not make the coaches’ honorable mention team. However, the media voted Elliott honorable mention.
In the Big Ten title game, Elliott carried 20 times for 220 yards and two touchdowns. Against Alabama, Elliott carried 20 times for 230 yards and two touchdowns. His 81-yarder effectively sealed the game for the Buckeyes.
6. Urban Meyer’s clock management needs work. Ahead 42-35 with two minutes left and blessed with great field position thanks to Bama’s onside kick, Meyer ordered a deep pass on first down. Jones’ toss was incomplete, Alabama was able to save one of its two timeouts and the Crimson Tide got the ball back with 1:33 left instead of less than a minute.
That makes a huge difference. Bama had time to get into Ohio State territory and throw a hail Mary. Would not have happened without those extra 35 seconds.
7. Florida State played Oregon tougher than I thought. I know, that sounds goofy after a 59-20 drubbing. But Oregon’s halftime lead was just 18-13, and it was 25-20 with less than seven minutes left in the third quarter. Then the Seminoles committed four straight turnovers, leading to four straight Duck touchdowns. I thought Oregon might win by a blowout even without a rash of turnovers.
8. Ohio State’s skill positions are impressive. Superb wide receivers. The biggest difference between OU and Ohio State is at wide receiver.
9. Oregon’s post-game antics — at least three players mocked Jameis Winston, with chants of “no means no” — were unacceptable, even if it was Jameis Winston. Oregon has its own shady history regarding sexual assault allegations. Duck coach Mark Helfrich says the players will be disciplined. Let’s hope he means it.
10. Helfrich is a fun coach. Most college football fans couldn’t pick him out of a lineup. He’s like every Oregon coach; low-key in demeanor, low-key upon being hired, but incredibly effective.