The College Football Playoff Committee released the final College Football Playoff Ranking of the season on Sunday.
The Alabama Crimson Tide held steady at number one, a position they’ve held for the past four weeks since knocking off then-number one Mississippi State 25-20 on November 15.
The Oregon Ducks remained steadfast in their number two position, a position they’ve held on to for the past five weeks, after avenging an early season loss to Arizona by way of a 51-13 rout of the Wildcats in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
The Florida State Seminoles moved up one spot to number three, finishing the season as the only team to appear in the top four every week since the release of the inaugural College Football Playoff Ranking (the first release took place on October 28).
The Ohio State Buckeyes, the lone newcomer, rounded out the top four following a 59-0 demolition of the then 13th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten Championship Game.
The Baylor Bears moved up from six to five, while last week’s number three, the TCU Horned Frogs, dropped three spots to number six in the polls, thus ending the Big XII’s bid to have representation in the inaugural College Football Playoff.
The inaugural college football playoff lends itself to a bevy of story lines.
Nick Saban and Urban Meyer, who are considered two of the top coaches in all of college football, will face off for the fourth time and the first time since 2010, when Urban Meyer was head coach at Florida.
Saban leads the all-time series 2-1.
Although Urban Meyer is an old face in a new place, he doesn’t expect things to be too different from when he was in the SEC.
“I know exactly what I’m going to see when I flip on the film: a bunch of great football. I know who they recruit. I know the way they coach,” Meyer said. “They don’t have much transition in the coaching staff. A little bit different dynamic now on offense I think with Lane Kiffin there. He’s opened it up a little bit…I know exactly what we’re going to see. Excellent special teams. We have to be on point.”
The coaching staff isn’t the only thing that has remained constant at Alabama since Meyer’s departure from the SEC. The sustained success of Alabama has remained constant as well.
Nick Saban is still running the flagship program of the best conference in the country and doesn’t want people to forget the importance of having success in the SEC and the conference championship game.
“Everybody sort of minimizes the importance of this game now and wants to talk about the playoff,” Saban said. “But I’ll tell you what. It’s a significant accomplishment. I’ve been in this league for a long time. It’s tough to win. It’s tough to win in this division. It’s tough to win in this game.”
The Alabama Crimson Tide and the Ohio State Buckeyes will face off in the Sugar Allstate Sugar Bowl on January 1 at 8:30 p.m. in New Orleans.
The Alabama-Ohio State game is not the only game writing an intriguing storyline.
The Oregon Ducks are preparing to take on the reigning national champion and undefeated Florida State Seminoles in what could be a battle of the past two Heisman Trophy Winners.
Oregon starting quarterback Marcus Mariota is considered the front runner to win the coveted trophy for the most outstanding player, although it is not a done deal.
If Mariota were to win the trophy, it would be the fourth match up between Heisman Trophy winners.
Although Jameis Winston has led the Seminoles to another undefeated regular season and ACC title, the College Football Playoff Committee has been unimpressed with them, having had them ranked at number four at one point.
Much of the country is worried about the talent of this Florida State team, but head coach Jimbo Fisher continues to sing the praises of his squad.
“This team is an elite team. It’s 13-0. 13 wins. No losses. No matter what happens to it,” Fisher said. “And it’s resiliency to be unbroken is amazing to me because it can take everybody’s best shot, looks you in the eye and keeps playing. Doesn’t say anything. Just keeps doing its job. I’m blessed to be able to coach them.”
Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks will take on Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles in the Rose Bowl on January 1 at 5 p.m. in Pasadena.
The winners of the two semifinal games will face off in the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship Game on January 12 at 8:30 p.m. in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
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