New Year's Day recap
When TCU got bypassed by the College Playoff Committee, I was leading the way in saying the Big 12 and TCU, in particular, got hosed. The way TCU hammered Ole Miss on New Year’s Eve, it further proved my point.
I thought Ohio State should have been left out. They had lost at home to an average Virginia Tech team and except for a tough win versus Michigan State, weren’t all that impressive during the season. True, they blew out Wisconsin in the BIG championship game, but they didn’t look like a top four team. I have to admit I was wrong. Not only did they deserve to be there, but from the middle of the second quarter on yesterday they totally outplayed top seed Alabama.
Alabama, as good as they are, have not played their best football in the latter part of the season. Their usually stingy defense has come apart as of late. In the Iron Bowl against Auburn, they gave up a number of big plays and did the same last night.
The SEC, as a whole, has had a tough week, beginning with Notre Dame beating LSU in the Music City Bowl Tuesday afternoon. Since then, the SEC has gone 2-4 in bowl games. Ole Miss got beaten badly by TCU, Wisconsin squeaked by Auburn in overtime, Georgia Tech easily beat Mississippi State and, of course, Ohio State clearly outplayed Alabama.
The only wins for the SEC in the period were Georgia knocking off Louisville 37 -14 and Missouri spanking Minnesota 33-17. Credit has to go to the Big Ten, as they have had some quality wins this week. Going into today’s Iowa-Tennessee game, the BIG has won five and lost four, with the best wins being of course Ohio State and then Michigan State beating Baylor. The Wisconsin–Auburn game was as exciting a game as any of the bowl games.
Getting back to the playoff games, I don’t think anyone would have thought Oregon would beat Florida State as easily as they did. Early in the third quarter, that game was a toss-up, and then the bottom fell out on FSU. While Florida State had fought back from adversity many times this season, they couldn’t get it done yesterday. Oregon was like a fine-tuned machine and kept the pedal to the metal the entire second half. I don’t remember the last time a Florida State team was beaten so badly. In the fourth quarter, the FSU team showed no life or competitiveness.
The way the Florida State team handled the loss was sad. Rather than act like true sportsmen, most of the team just ran off the field when the game ended. Only a few of their players congratulated Oregon players for their win. It was so obvious, the ESPN game crew even called them out. Florida State has taken a lot of heat for the way they have handled numerous off-field issues this season. The poor sportsmanship shown yesterday will only add to the growing criticism.
Looking at the upcoming National Championship game, I have to feel that while Ohio State is the more physical of the two teams, they won’t be able to keep up with the speed of Oregon. While I don’t expect a blowout like the Florida State game, I do feel Oregon will win by at least 7.
Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe