DALLAS — An assortment of musings from the first College Football Playoff …
In the Dallas suburbs, there is an office complex called Urban Towers.
It’s a good paring of words to describe where Urban Meyer currently stands in college football.
The Ohio State coach moved into a pretty exclusive neighborhood with Monday night’s 42-20 victory over Oregon in the national championship game.
Meyer becomes the 11th coach in college football history to win three national titles in what is considered the modern era — that’s the era beginning with the first Associated Press poll in 1936. Meyer of course won BCS titles at Florida in 2006 and 2008.
He joins Nick Saban (one BCS title at LSU, three at Alabama) as the only coaches to win national championships at two schools.
Meyer, a native of Ashtabula, Ohio, was asked if this was the most special because he is from the state.
“Well, that’s not fair; because in 2006, that’s still probably the most special because that was the first one,” he said. “The second one was a great team, a team that was the best team in America pretty much start to finish after the Ole Miss loss. Then this one was a team that kind of came out of nowhere. To answer your question, to start comparing this one versus that one, that will never happen.
“Is there a little zest to it that you grew up in the great state of Ohio? It’s very special, very special.”
The temptation will be to anoint Ohio State as the new, unchallenged heavyweight of college football, a title that Alabama still held until the night it lost the Sugar Bowl to the Buckeyes.
Ohio State could be all that, but that was also being said of Florida State this time a year ago because the Seminoles had Jameis Winston coming back. FSU was still pretty dang good this year, but the ’Noles lacked that certain something and were dispatched by Oregon in their CFP semifinal in the Rose Bowl.
The College Football Playoff will make it harder, though not impossible, for teams to repeat as champion. Ohio State will no doubt be at the top of a lot of polls going into next season, but there is also the possibility these Buckeyes captured some special chemistry that will just barely elude their grasp next season — as it eluded Florida State in 2014.
The whole “Will Braxton Miller” transfer from Ohio State to play quarterback somewhere else in 2015, maybe (just maybe) LSU, could take a big hit if Cardale Jones decides to go pro.
Jones has made only three starts, but he’s looked better and better in them. He’s 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, throws like a cannon and runs like a freight train. Frankly, he looked more like a pro quarterback Monday night than Oregon’s Marcus Mariota did.
Jones said again at Tuesday’s final championship game news conference that he doesn’t think he’s ready for the NFL. But he left the door ajar a bit when he said he and Meyer would discuss it.
As for Miller, Meyer said he expects him to return to Ohio State this fall, but that could just be coachspeak. He could still wind up at LSU or one of a number of other schools, but any such occurrence would be a lightning strike kind of possibility.
One would have to judge the first College Football Playoff as a success. There are tweaks to be made, for sure — I personally could do without seven weeks of rankings only to watch a team like TCU drop from third to sixth the final week after a huge win — but it did its job. The huge interest in college football only intensified, the semifinals were big destination games, and the championship game was the most watched program in cable TV history.
Next season, we’re going to see just how popular this CFP thing is. The semifinal games will be in the Cotton and Orange bowls — on Dec. 31, not New Year’s Day. That’s still the territory of the Sugar and Rose bowls, which were the semifinal games this year, along with the Fiesta Bowl.
First take: having the semifinals on Dec. 31 is going to make the Jan. 1 games seem quite anticlimactic — except for the teams in them.
Why are the semis on Dec. 31? You have to figure it’s because the Sugar and Rose are locked into their Jan. 1 time slots and were promised no CFP competition. The Rose is going to be midafternoon every year, while the Sugar is in prime time.
Might this be something that gets tweaked when it comes to the CFP in the next few years? Could be. But we’ll have to watch this format play out first.
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter: @RabalaisAdv.