Chalk one up for the inaugural College Football Playoff championship. Even before Ohio State dispatched Oregon for the title, the playoffs were a success. Highly-anticipated match-ups brought record-breaking ratings and great football to the semi-finals, setting up last night's championship game. But until this season, it could never have happened.
In past years, we would likely have seen #1-ranked Alabama face off against undefeated (but not highly acclaimed) Florida State. By some chance, if the BCS voters and computers thought better of Oregon, we might have seen the Ducks jump over the Seminoles to face the Crimson Tide. The most unlikely scenario, though, would have been for the Buckeyes, a one-loss team in a downtrodden conference playing with a 3rd-string quarterback, to get a shot at the title.
Thanks to the new (and, naturally, controversial) Selection Committee rankings, FOUR teams were chosen to play in the first playoffs in major college football history. No longer would it be settled on paper ballots -- the champion would be decided on the field. And a team that last season would have been on the outside looking in has busted through. While a 10-1 team hardly fits the bill as an underdog, #4 Ohio State was not expected to beat Alabama, and certainly not in the way they pounded the Tide into submission. Even then, the Buckeyes weren't the favorites against the high-flying Ducks, either.
But there they were, Ezekiel Elliott breaking off huge chunks of yardage, Cardale Jones finding open receivers downfield. The Buckeyes defense causing fits for Marcus Mariota and the Oregon receiving corps. And even though I didn't personally care for the outcome, I could certainly appreciate the ride.