2015 is the dawn of a new era in college football
Jan. 1, 2015 isn't just the start of a new year, it's the dawn of new era of college football. Four teams, placed into a bracket by a committee, will compete in a national championship tournament for the first time in the sport's history. Football fans from coast to coast have been gifted two historic matchups to get this new era of playoff football started.
In the most gorgeous of settings — the Rose Bowl — No. 2 Oregon will face No. 3 Florida State. The team America loves to watch against the team America loves to hate. The Seminoles are the unbeaten, undisputed defending champions of college football while the Ducks are the hottest “it” program in the game today.
Both teams are led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks. Marcus Mariota has been sensational all season while Jameis Winston's second campaign has been anything but smooth. For the first time in his career, Winston may not be the best QB on the field.
Points will be plentiful out West so it will likely fall to the defenses to get critical stops. If Florida State, a team that has struggled against the run all season, can't keep Mariota in check, the Ducks will be making their second appearance in the national title game since 2010.
Deep in the heart of SEC country, Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes return to the national title picture, this time against a familiar foe. Nick Saban and No. 1-ranked Alabama stand ready and waiting in New Orleans.
These two coaches have combined for six BCS championships and have faced each other twice before with a trip to the season's final game hanging in the balance. Can the Buckeyes overcome the loss of J.T. Barrett and knock off the team that has dominated college football since beating Meyer's Florida Gators in the SEC title game in 2009?
How Ohio State's third-string quarterback Cardale Jones handles the gravity of the situation in just his second career start is likely to determine the outcome of the Sugar Bowl. If he struggles, the heavily favored Crimson Tide could roll their way into their fourth national title game in the last six years.
Alabama and Oregon are picked by most to advance to Arlington. But no matter what happens in either game, the real winner is college football.
Never before have four conference winners decided the national championship on the field like they will on New Year's Day.