NCAA Football News

College Football Championship 2015: Latest Twitter Hype, Pick for Oregon vs. OSU

Without the College Football Playoff system, the conversation heading into Monday night's national championship game would have been far different. Mostly because neither of the participants would've made the trip.

Instead, we'd be discussing Jameis Winston's quest for a second title in as many seasons and Nick Saban's continued domination of the college football landscape. Alabama and Florida State, who lost to Ohio State and Oregon in the semifinals, would have skated through without much question from the outside world. The Crimson Tide won the sport's toughest conference and the Seminoles were the lone FBS unbeaten team during the regular season.

In other words: The College Football Playoff formula may not yet be perfect, but it's far better than the alternative. Monday will see Marcus Mariota attempt to etch his name near (or at) the top of the sport's all-time greats, while Urban Meyer tries to join Saban as the only coach to win a national championship at two different schools.

For better or for worse, Monday night history will be made in Dallas. With just hours before kickoff, then, let's take a look around the wonderful World Wide Web and see what people are saying about the title game. Oh, and then I'll happen to say a few words of a predictive nature at the end.

 

What the World Is Saying

Hello friends. I'm sure you, like I, have a Twitter account. For those of you unfamiliar with the service, Twitter is a social media network that allows friends (or even strangers!) to connect with one another via messages of 140 characters or less. What people often like to do on this social media website is express their sports opinions.

For instance, here is a sports opinion from the Lost Lettermen website:

Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports offers his own football opinion: 

Want to party with the Duck of Oregon fame? Of course you do. Here's how much it will cost, per ESPN's Darren Rovell: 

Do you like bingo? Oh, who am I kidding. Everyone loves bingo. Here's a form of the popular rest-home game you may play this evening, courtesy of SB Nation:

Vegas insider R.J. Bell offers this nugget, which, well, is kind of insane:

I'm just going to tweet-dump all these stats from ESPN Stats & Info. They're like my children (that I don't have); I can't just choose one:

We'll close with something I mostly just find amusing, via Bryan Curtis of Grantland:

That was your Twitter update for Monday, Jan. 12, 2015. Be sure to check back on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016 when we will revisit these tweets and mock the incorrect ones. (Not really.)

 

What I'm Saying

Oregon will win.

Oh, you would prefer I offer some sort of explanation. Alrighty then, here it goes.

Oregon will win because it has the game's best player. Mariota is one touchdown away from being the first player in college football history to amass 50 more total touchdowns than turnovers in the same season. Over the course of his career, he's thrown 1,130 passes and only 13 of them have gone to the other team. Mariota has fewer interceptions over a three-year span than Jameis Winston had during his sophomore campaign alone.

While Mariota is far from a one-man band, making head-to-head choices is a tricky process that essentially comes down to trust. When you do the proverbial if-your-life-depended-on-it mental game, which of these two teams—and quarterbacks—would you rather ride with? It's an imperfect science but becomes easier to justify when teams are so close.

Cardale Jones has done an excellent job across his two games under center, but he's benefited from some sensational play from skill-position players. Ezekiel Elliott should be effective against a shaky Oregon run defense. The odds are stacked against him being the 450 yards' worth of effective he was against Wisconsin and Alabama. Nor are the odds in his favor for breaking out another rushing touchdown of 80-plus yards.

In fact, the Ohio State offense under Jones has become so big-play dependent it'll be interesting to see if there's a mean regression here. Each of Jones' touchdown passes over the last two games has gone to Devin Smith and were plays of 39 yards or more. Smith's a dangerous target who's made a living at Ohio State burning opposing defensive backs, but the Buckeyes leaning on that strategy tends to lean toward high-variance outcomes.

Whenever he's not making big plays, Jones' production has tended to slow down. He struggles with accuracy between the hashmarks and has shown a propensity for trying to fit balls into small windows. Arm strength is the last thing on Jones' weakness list, but it's something the Oregon defense can take advantage of in the right situation.

Mariota doesn't make such mistakes. While he's not been at his most accurate in the beginning of games, spacing in the Oregon offense tends to give him extra leeway. Mariota's pro readiness has been called into question because he so rarely fits balls into tight windows, but we won't have to worry about that until April.

For now, it's a trust exercise. On one side, Meyer wins the trust battle over the still-unproven Mark Helfrich. On the other, Mariota gallops away with the victory over Jones. In the case of a tie, always choose the side whose talent you trust more.

Score: Oregon 42, Ohio State 31

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

UCLA Football: Bruins' Top Remaining Recruiting Targets for NSD 2015

With a 2015 recruiting class currently ranked second in the Pac-12 and No. 15 in the nation, there is cause for UCLA football to celebrate on next month's national signing day. 

However, head coach Jim Mora and his staff cannot rest on the program's current success, whether it be a program-record three consecutive nine-win seasons or four straight recruiting classes ranked in the national top 20. 

The Bruins can make a strong push for the best recruiting class in the conference if Mora can land commitments from some of the top remaining targets still available on the trail. 

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Oregon vs. Ohio State: Latest Odds and College Football Championship Prediction

The College Football Playoff has already paid massive dividends, producing a high-flying national championship between Oregon and Ohio State.

Had the BCS chosen the championship clash like in years' past, the undefeated Florida State Seminoles would have instead gotten exposed by the Alabama Crimson Tide for all the marbles. Instead, the Ducks proved the importance of point differential by ravaging Florida State while Ohio State took the SEC golden boys down a peg.

As a result, the last two teams standing both wield electric, uptempo offenses which score at least 45 points per game. One is led by the runaway Heisman Trophy winner, the other by a third-string quarterback shoved into duty for his third start.

Yet Ohio State has not missed a beat with Cardale Jones under center, and its swarming defense presents Marcus Mariota with one of his toughest challenges to date. This championship showdown will meet the lofty hype.

 

Oregon vs. Ohio State

When: Monday, Jan. 12 at 8:30 p.m. ET 

Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

Watch: ESPN, WatchESPN 

Line (via Odds Shark): Oregon (-7)

 

Preview

Buckle up for a fun ride, and whatever you do, don't take your eyes off the game. 

The FBS' No. 3 offense in total yards per game (553), Oregon runs the show at a lightning pace, executing 77.4 plays per game. While its hurry-up attack has reached notoriety, it has also inspired others to join the charge.

While working as an ESPN analyst, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer took note of the schemes then run by Chip Kelly. Now he leads a club that runs 74.4 plays per contest, ranking No. 9 in total offense with 510 yards per bout.

When describing his transition into a quicker spread scheme, head coach Urban Meyer called hurry-up offenses the future of college football to Bleacher Report's Ben Axelrod

"It is. Everybody says it's not—it is," Meyer said. "It's an advantage for the offense. And if you don't take it, then that's fine. But even I know Alabama is moving in that direction. Is it full-speed all the time? We're not. But certainly that gives us an advantage at times."

Of course, the key is how each side uses those plays. Although Jones has certainly defied expectations replacing J.T. Barrett, who filled in masterfully for Braxton Miller, Ezekiel Elliot has run the Buckeyes to the title game.

The sophomore has rushed for 923 yards and nine touchdowns over the past six games, compiling 450 yards and two scores during the past two tilts alone. Since the season's opening two bouts, he has registered 7.2 yards per rush.

Florida State eventually had to eschew the ground game during a 59-20 massacre, but Karlos Williams and Dalvin Cook combined for 183 yards on 27 carries. During the season, the Ducks surrendered 158.2 rushing yards per game on 4.6 yards per run.

Oregon is susceptible against the run, and Elliott has caught fire. Its best shot at containing him is to rattle Jones and build an early lead off turnovers. The passing game must turn into a distinct advantage for the Ducks, which won't be easy without their emerging wideout. 

According to CSNNW.com's Aaron Fentress, wide receiver Darren Carrington is ineligible to play after failing a drug test. The redshirt freshman, who caught seven passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns against Florida State, tested positive for marijuana.

ESPN CollegeFootball charted Mariota's efficiency looking Carrington's way, and ESPN Stats & Info measured the impact of those connections.

Nevertheless, Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost doesn't sound too fazed about the loss. Despite missing Carrington, Devon Allen and Pharaoh Brown, he insisted to ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach that the wideout corps remains deep.

We have so much confidence in our next guy stepping up that it doesn't bother us like you think it would. It doesn't affect us like you probably might think because we know how much depth we have at that position. It's actually the most healthy we've been at the position in quite a while.

Those who aren't used to Oregon's unconventional offense label it soft, but its 301 rushing yards and five scores against Florida State say otherwise. An Ohio State defense that has relinquished 3.9 yards per run presents a stiffer test, but Mariota is not running a one-man show.

To keep up with Oregon's speed, Ohio State needs another huge game from linebacker Darren Lee, who flew around the field for seven tackles—three for a loss—and two sacks against Alabama. Nobody, including the Sugar Bowl's defensive MVP, can shut down Mariota and Co., but neither offense is leaving Texas without a heavy scoop of points.

Michigan State offensive coordinator Dave Warner, who lined up against both Oregon and Ohio State this season, hammered down the importance of finishing drives to ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg.

"Third downs become very critical, whether it’s 3rd-and-short or 3rd-and-long," Warner said. "When you get in the red zone, you want to get touchdowns, not field goals. Those things become even more important when you're going against a high-powered offense." 

One or two field goals too many will leave either side short-changed, and neither school can afford any turnovers. The Buckeyes needed three Blake Sims interceptions to win a shootout over the Crimson Tide, but Mariota has tossed three picks all year.

By a slim margin, Oregon walks away with the national championship.

Prediction: Oregon 42, Ohio State 37

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LSU DC Search: Latest Rumors and Buzz Surrounding Vacant Position

As LSU's search to replace departed defensive coordinator John Chavis continues, it appears the Tigers are looking to take a bite out of their most bitter rival.    

Ross Dellenger and Scott Rabalais of The Advocate reported Monday that university officials have been in contact with Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and longtime NFL assistant Mel Tucker about their vacancy. Neither man is considered a favorite for the position nor has there been any indication of interest, though The Advocate did note they've been in touch through intermediaries.

Smart, 39, just finished his seventh season as Nick Saban's defensive coordinator. One of the nation's most respected assistant coaches, it'd be a mild surprise to see him leave Alabama for another coordinator position. Smart has been working under Saban for most of the last decade, following him from stops at LSU to the NFL's Miami Dolphins to Alabama.

More than anything, interest from LSU might convince Alabama to offer Smart a salary raise. He is already the nation's second-highest paid coordinator after signing a new deal in 2013, but the Tide football program is far from lacking in cash. LSU can't offer much in terms of a job change with Les Miles having a Saban-esque presence in Baton Rouge, so don't expect this to go much further.

Tucker, a former LSU defensive backs coach, has spent the last seven seasons as an NFL defensive coordinator. He was with the Chicago Bears the last two seasons under recently deposed head coach Marc Trestman. Though still technically under contract, Tucker is not expected back in 2015.

LSU has had no trouble pulling coordinators from the professional ranks in recent years, as offensive coordinator Cam Cameron came over after years on an NFL sideline. The Tigers are looking for a replacement after Chavis, who served as the linebackers coach and defensive coordinator for the last six seasons, left for a similar position at Texas A&M.   

Chavis' $1.67 million salary would make him the highest-paid coordinator in college football, barring a raise elsewhere before next season.

 

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Alabama Football: Which Early Enrollees Have the Best Chance to Play in 2015?

Nick Saban doesn’t require it, nor does he hold it against players who don’t wish to do it.

But there’s no question that high school commitments who enroll in school a semester early get a leg up on the rest of the competition within their class for early playing time. Going through spring practice, as well as getting settled into life as a college student without the season going on, pays big dividends.

Last year, for example, seven of Alabama’s eight January enrollees saw the field in some capacity in 2014, with only quarterback David Cornwell taking a redshirt.

Notably, Cam Robinson started every game at left tackle. JUCO transfers Jarran Reed and D.J. Pettway were regulars in the defensive line rotation. Tony Brown got two starts at cornerback. Cam Sims played in all but two games at wide receiver. Their extra time paid off.

This year, Alabama will once again have eight early enrollees, which the school announced on Friday:

So who will be the candidates from this class to see the field next year? Let’s take a look at some of the more likely possibilities.

 

Bo Scarbrough

Bo Scarbrough is Alabama’s best bet from this group at early playing time.

The 5-star athlete from Tuscaloosa was practicing with Alabama in town during Sugar Bowl prep at running back, so he already has a head start on the guys getting a head start.

It’s still unclear where, exactly, Scarbrough will play at Alabama. The versatile player can do a lot on the offensive side.

At running back, he’ll face a logjam even with the departure of T.J. Yeldon. Derrick Henry, Kenyan Drake and Tyren Jones all return and played meaningful snaps last year.

He could land at wide receiver or even in an H-back-type role. At 6’2”, 225 pounds, he has a little bit of size, but his athleticism in the open field sets him apart. Scarbrough can do a lot of different things, which should help Lane Kiffin get him on the field sooner rather than later.

 

Jonathan Taylor

Saban and Alabama will continue to face tough questions for the signing of Jonathan Taylor—who, police say, “choked” and “struck with a closed fist” his 5’11”, 170-pound girlfriend, his second arrest while on the Georgia football team—and rightfully so.

But, from a strictly on-field perspective, Taylor should have a good chance to see the field, assuming he does all of the right things off of it.

The 6’4” 335-pound Taylor was rated a 3-star defensive tackle out of junior college and gives Alabama a big run-stuffer in the middle of its 3-4 defense in running situations.

Brandon Ivory had previously played that role for Alabama, but his graduation leaves an open spot there.

The Crimson Tide are only in their base 3-4 about 25 percent of the time, with changing offenses in the SEC dictating more nickel and dime. But against teams like LSU and Arkansas, Alabama still needs to keep run-stopping looks at a high level.

Taylor can be that man in the middle for Alabama.

 

Blake Barnett

Normally, Alabama’s quarterbacks have gone straight to a redshirt their first year on campus under Saban.

That will probably be the plan for Blake Barnett, but he could make things interesting over the next seven or eight months.

Barnett is a 5-star quarterback out of Corona, California, the highest-rated quarterback Saban has ever signed. Saban and Kiffin saw how valuable a mobile quarterback can be in that kind of offense when Blake Sims saw success this season.

Barnett is a similar mobile type who rushed for 479 yards and seven touchdowns in his senior season.

If he can pick up the offense during the spring and into the summer, he could end up being a player in a quarterback competition that doesn’t have a sure thing right now.

 

Ronnie Harrison and Deionte Thompson

Alabama needs some safeties in a big way. Ronnie Harrison and Deionte Thompson could be those safeties.

Harrison and Thompson, two 4-stars who are already enrolled, will have an opportunity to play early on.

In Landon Collins, Jarrick Williams and Nick Perry, Alabama loses its top three safeties and starters for most of the year in nickel and dime. Geno Smith, Hootie Jones and Maurice Smith are candidates to replace them but are anything but sure things.

Jones was in a similar spot last year as an early enrollee and ended up playing in seven games, on special teams and defense. Special teams has traditionally been a proving ground for Alabama’s DBs. Landon Collins was a phenom on punt and kick coverage before taking over full-time defensive duties.

Harrison and Thompson will likely get their shots on special teams initially but could eventually find themselves playing defense before the year is over.

 

Marc Torrence is the Alabama lead writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.

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USC Offensive Line Will Be Fine Without Tim Drevno

Offensive line coach Tim Drevno helped transform a thin, inexperienced unit into a decided strength of the USC football team in 2014. 

Drevno is gone, reuniting with longtime colleague Jim Harbaugh at Michigan, but the work he did in just one season at USC ensures the Trojans will be just fine up front in 2015. 

Rumors abound as to whom head coach Steve Sarkisian will tab to replace Drevno. FootballScoop.com tweeted Friday that Mississippi State's John Hevesy is a front-runner. 

Hevesy's offensive line paved the way for Mississippi State to average 233.1 rushing yards per game, 23rd-best in the nation last season. The Bulldogs also allowed a respectable 23 sacks on the year. 

Whether it's Hevesy or someone else taking Drevno's place, however, that coach inherits a well-stocked lineup, which members of the unit said transformed in 2014. 

"Every practice we were just getting better and better," said Toa Lobendahn, whose efforts blocking likely first-round NFL draft pick Randy Gregory in last month's Holiday Bowl were key to the Trojans' 45-42 win.

For Lobendahn, the Holiday Bowl was the culmination of season-long efforts that have him set on course for a monster 2015. And he's not the only one. 

"[We] went from a lot of inexperience, a lot of young guys, to now, [being] back next year at full throttle," Zach Banner said.

For much of the past season, USC started a redshirt sophomore (Banner) and two true freshmen (Damien Mama and Lobendahn). A third true freshman, Viane Talamaivao, broke into the rotation early into Pac-12 conference play. 

When two-year starting left tackle Chad Wheeler suffered a torn ACL on Oct. 25, Lobendahn filled the vacancy by moving from guard. Coupled with a late-season injury to Damien Mama, redshirt freshman Khaliel Rodgers found a spot starting on the interior of the line. 

The role the freshmen played was "a dream," according to Lobendahn. But, as is to be expected with first-year players, there were growing pains. 

UCLA dominated USC up front in a 38-20 Bruins' win on Nov. 22, getting to Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler for six sacks. 

Kessler also faced heavy pressure in the loss at Utah, which, combined with a rushing average of just 3.3 yards per carry, rendered USC's offense uncharacteristically stagnant. 

Banner said the Trojans cultivated their attitude for 2015 through such struggles. 

"We had a couple guys here and there—I’m not saying they were playing selfish—but they had to understand to do their role and not get [caught up] in the emotion," he said.

Learning to play with a more even keel is a quality gained with experience, and USC returning Banner, as well as the quartet of 2014 freshmen, means the Trojans offensive line will have experience to spare in 2015. 

USC scored another victory for its offensive line with All-Conference honoree Max Tuerk opting to return for his senior season. 

With his first-team selection at center this season, Tuerk completed the unlikely feat of finishing All-Pac-12 at center, tackle and guard in three years. 

Wheeler will also work with Ivan Lewis and the strength and conditioning staff to bounce back from his injury.

Lewis' involvement played a key part in the line's development in 2014, as Mama explained.   

"I feel good," Mama said following USC's regular-season finale, a 49-14 rout of rival Notre Dame. "Shows how good our strength staff has treated me."

The Trojans line—and its new coach—will have plenty more to feel good about next season.  

 

Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise cited. Statistics courtesy of CFBstats.com

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Oregon vs. Ohio State 2015: TV Info, Odds for College Football Championship 2015

Hours from now, a new champion in college football will be crowned. After taking down the two teams that have won the last three national championships, Oregon and Ohio State will tangle at AT&T Stadium.

Oregon comes in with a ton of confidence after dismantling Florida State in the Rose Bowl. Led by Marcus Mariota, the Ducks have a volatile offense that matches up with the very best in the country along with a physical defense.

On the other side stands Ohio State, which shocked the world with an upset of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Even though they're on their third quarterback this season in Cardale Jones, the Buckeyes have a potent attack with Ezekiel Elliott leading the way on the ground.

Prior to kickoff, here's a look at the viewing info, odds and breakdown of the national championship.

 

Game Information

Where: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas

When: Monday, Jan. 12 at 8:30 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Live Stream: WatchESPN

Spread: Oregon -6.5

Over/Under: 74

Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com.

 

Breakdown

For two teams that have dominated the sport in recent months, they have each followed a similar path.

Ohio State comes in with Jones at quarterback, who started the season third on the depth chart. Despite the signal-caller shuffle, the Buckeyes still come in with the fifth-best scoring offense (45 points per game).

Part of that success is due to Jones, who has stepped in admirably after both Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett were lost for the season. We've seen greatness shine through from Jones, but receiver Evan Spencer knows there is more he can unleash.

"You guys haven't seen all of his power," Spencer said, via Nicole Auerbach of USA Today. "I've seen Cardale on one knee throw the ball 65 yards. I was dumbfounded. You haven't seen everything he's got, trust me."

Meanwhile, Oregon has seen one key player after another go down late in the season. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, an All-American cornerback, is out for the playoff due to a knee injury. Freshman receivers Devon Allen and Darren Carrington, the No. 2 wideout, are both lost due to injury and ineligibility, respectively.

Even with those losses, Mariota comes in looking like the top player, not just the best quarterback, in the country. Having the Heisman winner under center gives the Ducks a dual-threat option to open up the field. ESPN Stats & Info also notes just how well he's played on the big stage:

Along with the two dynamic quarterbacks, both squads feature backfields with outstanding tailbacks. Royce Freeman excelled as a freshman in the Ducks system to lead the team in rushing and touchdowns.

Elliott, a sophomore, has set the world on fire in the last two games with 450 rushing yards and four touchdowns. ESPN College Football provides a look at a comparison of their ridiculous production:

Let's just say that fans can expect offensive gymnastics from both sides, but it will ultimately be Oregon's defense that changes the game. After compiling a Pac-12-best 36 sacks this season and causing 30 turnovers, expect the Ducks to finish with the upperhand.

On the shoulders of Mariota, Freeman and a potent defense, Oregon will take home its first national title. In a storybook year for the program, Monday night will be a fitting ending.

 

Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.

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Examining Braxton Miller, JT Barrett's Futures with OSU Before 2015 Championship

Urban Meyer's biggest riddle as coach of Ohio State is not the Oregon Ducks, but his quarterback situation. 

There can certainly be too much of a good thing.

Braxton Miller, the two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year in 2012 and '13, not to mention surefire Heisman Trophy finalist before his injury, figures to be ready for 2015. J.T. Barrett, who finished in the top five in Heisman voting after leading the Buckeyes to a Big Ten championship, will be back as well.

Then there is Cardale Jones, a sophomore who may bring a national title back to Columbus and write the greatest three-game stretch by a quarterback in program history, if not in college football history as a whole.

No pressure, Urban.

“It’s very unique. I’ve never seen a situation like this,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said, per Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel. “There may be a situation like this out there, but I’d be shocked because of the talent level of all three. It’s interesting.”

See, if Meyer makes the wrong decision, promises the wrong thing or even sends off iffy vibes, he may lose one of Miller, Barrett or both, leaving him depleted should the starter suffer an injury once again. 

The rare situation is part of the reason Miller's name continues to come up in transfer chatter, such as a note by Rusty Mansell of 247 Sports:

As Bryan Fischer of NFL.com notes, chatter about Miller taking his talents to Florida State to man the position Jameis Winston leaves behind as he turns pro continues to pop up as well.

In that report, though, Fischer cites Meyer as saying that "I do expect Braxton to return," so expect things to pick up on this front after the title game.

As for Barrett, the redshirt sophomore has two years of eligibility left. Like Miller, he has been nothing but supportive of Jones through the crucial three-game stretch, as ESPN's Joe Schad details:

As for Jones, he has already made it abundantly clear he will return to Columbus in 2015, saying to the media before the title game that he "will definitely be back," per FoxSports.com's Zac Jackson.

For now, all three quarterbacks are playing things by the book. Outside of being downright great teammates, all three seem to realize the gravity of their situations should they want to transfer or go pro.

How Meyer plays his cards will reveal all. Should he choose to do right by Miller, especially so that he can go on to the NFL with high draft stock, one of Barrett or Jones may depart.

Miller has options, though. Outside of the accolades and great demeanor in the face of adversity, 5,292 yards, 52 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in three seasons at Ohio State with another 3,054 yards and 32 scores on the ground does that for a quarterback.

Due another year of eligibility despite graduating in December thanks to his injury before his fourth season, Miller's first opportunity to transfer comes the day of the title game, while he has until January 15 to apply for the NFL.

In other words, expect at least one decision to come quickly.

The reality is that Miller and Barrett will both take a backseat to Jones now and through the spring as they recover from injuries. Miller transferring seems a long shot, especially if he cannot recover from a nagging shoulder injury and considers a position change anyway.

That leaves Barrett and Jones to duke it out for the starting gig. The former, given his Heisman candidacy, figures to be the favorite for the starting spot next year. A transfer after already using his redshirt year seems unlikely. The fifth-year transfer route is available to Jones should he graduate on time, but that won't come until after 2015.

No matter how things shake up for all involved, everybody wins. Meyer's program is secure at the most important position of all, while all three quarterbacks have more than shown their worth at the collegiate level and pro upside.

For now, the focus remains Oregon. Win or lose, the impending quarterback situation ensures the future success of Meyer's offense, while the three names involved rest in positive situations with a variety of avenues open to them.

Injuries aside, everybody wins moving forward thanks to the wild ride that was 2014. That's a good problem to have.

 

Statistics and info courtesy of ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.

 

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