The College Football Playoff Committee has announced its final College Football Playoff rankings, and it actually includes a surprise. Though the top three teams — Alabama, Oregon and Florida State — were largely expected to go in that order, the No. 4 team in the final College Football Playoff rankings wasn’t Baylor or TCU, but Ohio State.
Ohio State had been on the outside looking in for several weeks, with either TCU or Baylor expected to take over the fourth spot. However, the Buckeyes dominated Wisconsin 59-0 in Saturday’s Big Ten Championship Game, impressing the College Football Playoff Committee enough to vault them into the No. 4 spot.
While the No. 4 ranking is a coup for Ohio State, their “reward” is playing the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day. Meanwhile, the No. 2 Oregon Ducks football team will take on No. 3 Florida State Seminoles in the Rose Bowl, also on New Year’s Day.
The Oregon Ducks vs Florida State game may actually be the more popular of the two games. Not only will the Ducks vs Seminoles Rose Bowl be a battle of high-profile teams, but it will represent the only time Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota has suited up against Florida State QB Jameis Winston.
Mariota and Winston are widely expected to be the first two QBs taken in the 2015 NFL Draft if both underclassmen declare their eligibility. Winston won the Heisman Trophy last year, while Mariota is the favorite for the 2014 Heisman award.
Oregon opened as an 8.5-point favorite over the Seminoles, the first time in 50 games Florida State has been an underdog. As for Bama-Ohio State, the Crimson Tide opened as 9.5-point favorites over the Buckeyes, the 68th straight game Alabama has been favored.
With the CFP Committee settling on their top four teams for the inaugural college football playoff, the rest of the bowl schedule can begin to unfold. While TCU and Baylor had both been jockeying for a spot in the playoff, the Horned Frogs fell to No. 6 while Baylor stayed pat at No. 5.
Florida State had been ranked No. 4 in last week’s College Football Playoff rankings, putting them in a precarious position going into yesterday’s ACC Championship.
By jumping up to the No. 3 spot in the final College Football Playoff rankings, FSU ended-up in a position that fans nationwide — and perhaps the CFP Committee too — will look forward to for the next three weeks.
If Alabama takes care of Ohio State and Mariota’s Ducks get the best of Winston’s Seminoles, the Bama-Oregon championship game people have been wanting for the past five years could finally come to fruition.
The College Football Playoff National Championship game will be held Jan. 12, 2015.