College football’s regular season is over and the postseason and playoff matchups are set. The bowl season kicks off in New Orleans on Dec. 20 and concludes with the national championship in Arlington, Texas. 39 bowl games are slated for this year's schedule, and the slate will increase to 40 in 2015.
College football’s new four-team playoff format starts on Jan. 1 with Oregon and Florida State meeting in the Rose Bowl, while Alabama takes on Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl to close out the first round. The Crimson Tide ranked as the No. 1 seed in the new format, with the Ducks ranked No. 2 over the defending national champs. The winner of the Sugar and Rose Bowl games on Jan. 1 are set to meet on Jan.
The NFL and Major League Baseball playoffs have their wild cards. The College Football Playoff does, too. If not in name, Ohio State is the wild card in practice.
The Buckeyes were the last team in the four-team field, and the most controversial. Ohio State’s 59-0 win over Wisconsin the Big Ten Championship put the Buckeyes over the top ahead of TCU and Baylor. Personnel-wise, Ohio State is also a wild card. The Buckeyes have played only one game with the quarterback who will start the Sugar Bowl.
When the guy who correctly predicts presidential races down to the electoral vote is thrown off the scent, maybe it’s time to acknowledge that following the weekly College Football Playoff horse race is not the best use of time.
Alabama enters the college football playoff as the No. 1 overall seed and the odds-on favorite to win the 2014-15 national championship. The Crimson Tide has won two out of the last three titles and enters the playoff with an eight-game winning streak, including a 42-13 win over Missouri in the SEC Championship and a 55-44 victory over Auburn in the Iron Bowl.
Florida State enters the college football playoff with a 29-game winning streak and a tough first-round matchup against Oregon in the Rose Bowl. The Seminoles aren’t the same team that claimed the BCS Championship last season, but coach Jimbo Fisher’s team is loaded with young talent and one of the top quarterbacks (Jameis Winston) in the nation.
Mark Helfrich has led his program to the Pac-12 Championship, the inaugural College Football Playoff and likely the school's first Heisman Trophy. But his team has much left to accomplish as it begins a month-long preparation for what will be the first of two possible playoff games.