Surprising Ohio State Wins National Championship
One Of Greatest Stories Ever?
January 15, 2015
By Mitch Chortkoff
After Ohio State defeated Oregon Monday night to win the first ever college football playoff Coach Urban Meyer called the Buckeyes’rags to riches story one of the best in college football history.
It would be hard to argue with him.
Ohio State’s starting quarterback, a Heisman Trophy candidate, went out with an injury. His replacement had an outstanding season but was unable to play in the final three games due to his own injury.
A sophomore who hadn’t played yet then burst onto the scene leading the Buckeyes to unexpected wins over Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon.
The 42-20 rout of Oregon on the biggest stage in college football history properly led to Meyers’ evaluation.
Not only did Ohio State prevail but it so ably represented the Big Ten Conference which had been maligned all season.
Fans and experts thought the once mighty Big Ten had deteriorated to the point of not being a factor on the national stage.
But these observers didn’t take into consideration Ohio State had acquired one of the sports’ great coaches three seasons ago.
If Ohio State was no longer a national power Meyer knew how to restore the Buckeyes to prominence.
‘I knew we had to recruit faster players,” he said.
Faster and tougher.
In the championship game Ohio State offered a 6-foot-5, 250-pound sophomore quarterback, a bulldozing sophomore running back and linemen who dominated and cancelled out Oregon’s ability to rattle an opponent by playing at an extremely fast tempo.
Ohio State capped a 14-1 season and prevailed as the No. 4 seed among the four playoff teams. In fact, the team wasn’t even going to get in the playoff until it crushed Wisconsin, 54-0 in the Big Ten championship game.
The selection committee hadn’t had much regard for Ohio State until then but how could it leave out a team which so easily dominated its fellow conference playoff finalist?
The committee didn’t expect Ohio State to eliminate No. 1 seed Alabama in the playoff semi-final, but that’s what happened.
Meyer, who had guided Florida to a pair of national championships before taking a year off and then becoming Ohio State’s coach, joins Nick Saban as the only coaches in college football history to win national championships at two different schools.
The day after the Oregon game Meyer said at a news conference he has no interest in moving onto the NFL at this time. He didn’t rule it out at a future time.
His Buckeyes will be rated very high at the start of next season. Many important players are underclassmen, most notably quarterbacks Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett and running back Ezekiel Elliott.
As for Oregon, let’s not discount the outstanding season the Ducks had and how well they represented the PAC 12 conference.
They had the Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Marcus Mariota, who represented the sport admirably both on and off the field.
It was no disgrace for UCLA and USC to finish below the entertaining Oregon team. And it’s pretty great for the PAC 12 to have a finalist in the first ever national playoff game.
The championship game on Monday had the environment of a Super Bowl. That’s what it is and will continue to be – a college football Super Bowl.