NCAA Football News

Urban Meyer Promised to Get a Tattoo If Buckeyes Won National Championship

What'll it be, Urban? A butterfly on the ankle or the Mandarin character for "prosper"?

Ohio State's head coach will have to decide soon, as he promised his players he'd get a tattoo if they won the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

USA Today's Nicole Auerbach reports that a number of Buckeyes players brought up the subject of ink in the aftermath of their national title-winning victory over the Oregon Ducks on Monday night. 

According to Auerbach, several members of the Buckeyes team said Meyer had made the promise after Ohio State defeated Alabama in the CFP semifinals.

"He promised us after we beat 'Bama in the locker room that if we won the next one, he'd get a tattoo," said OSU tight end Jeff Heuerman. "The first thing that went through my head [after defeating Oregon] is, Coach Meyer's getting a tattoo."

Defensive end Joey Bosa said he will personally make sure Meyer gets an Ohio State Block O somewhere on his body.

"I'll be here bugging him about it until he gets it," Bosa said. "I'll go with him [to the tattoo parlor]. I've already got my Block O."

Reneging on the offer is not a possibility. After all, as Bosa says, Ohio State has a standard to live up to.

"We have core values, and honesty is one of them, so he better not be lying," Bosa said.

While the Block O is a fitting tattoo for the occasion, there's no information out there indicating Meyer specified the design he would get. Rick Pitino went with the Louisville L, and Rex Ryan took the wife-Mark Sanchez approach. Meyer has plenty of options, not the least of which is "In Zeke We Trust."

No matter what you get, Urban, just remember: It's not a tattoo. It's a tradition

 

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Move Over, Nick Saban—Urban Meyer Is the Best Coach in College Football

Times change quickly. Eras change. History changes. You have to sort through the fads. So college football had its first playoff, and who won? The old classic.

No, I'm not talking about Ohio State. This is about Urban Meyer. It's about Urban renewal. When Ohio State beat Oregon 42-20 to win the national championship Monday, Meyer vaulted into history. Or back into it, maybe.

Let's just say this up front: Urban Meyer is now the greatest coach of his era. He has passed Nick Saban and even done the impossible: made Saban look old and the SEC outdated.

"The chase is complete," Meyer said on ESPN while he was still on the field. "It's done. It's over."

He was talking about his team's chase for a championship. I'm talking about Meyer's. He had already won two titles at Florida before stepping away for his health, mental and physical. But this is different. The game has changed in the past few years. And no one has done this with a third-string quarterback.

That doesn't mean college football's great coaching rivalry will stay this way. Saban has four titles and Meyer only three. And Saban will desperately try to punch back. Two weeks ago, he was still a genius. Now, he's fallen behind.

It always felt as if Saban had won the battle with Meyer, and even pushed him out of coaching. Meyer had lost so much weight. He was flipping out. Saban was just too big of an obstacle, a permanent pressure. That pressure seemed to consume Meyer and overwhelm him. So Meyer ran.

Right? He fled, albeit for the right reasons of family and health.

But look now. Saban was frazzled by trying to stop the modern offense and Johnny Manziel. He complained that it should have been banned under rules. He traveled the country to talk with coaches about how to stop it. He brought in Lane Kiffin to modernize the offense, to remodel.

Just two years ago, Saban and Alabama were a dynasty. Now, they haven't been to a title game in two years. That doesn't sound long, but it is significant. He's adjusting, and Meyer is ahead of him. Ohio State beat Alabama in the playoffs, and then Oregon. The truth is, Ohio State crushed both of them. Both teams, both styles, both eras.

Any Midwesterner watching Monday had a tear in his eye. The physical pummeling? Catching and slowing down that blazing speed? That style had been looking like caveman stuff. But the cold-weather, Rust Belt part of the country identifies with it.

While everyone gushes today over running back Ezekiel Elliott, who was great with 246 yards and four touchdowns, he wasn't the one who won that game for Ohio State.

It was won by Nos. 54, 50, 65, 68 and 76. That front five on the offensive line. I lean toward not divulging their names. Offensive linemen tend to stay anonymous, and in Midwestern-tough thinking, there is glory in that.

Elliott pounded away at Oregon. Quarterback Cardale Jones, at 250 pounds, took a defensive tackle head-on. But that front five—and probably a few others up front—dominated Oregon and gave Jones and Elliott time and space to be patient and pick their spots.

With just under 10 minutes left in the game, Elliott put his head down and rammed into the end zone. Watch that play again. He was touched just one time by an Oregon defender. And that defender was falling sideways at the time while being pancaked by No. 65.

God bless, 65.

That's how I saw the game. It was revenge of the slow-twitch muscles. But I'm sure in other places around the country, they saw South-style speed, West-style agility. The thing is, while Saban is searching, Meyer has put it all together, created a new future.

He is now two steps ahead of Saban.

There were residuals to Ohio State's win too. This game made college football a national sport again, not just a Southeastern game. Oregon, in beating Florida State, had already moved from a corner-of-the-U.S. team to a national blue blood.

If the BCS had still been in place this year, Alabama and Florida State surely would have played in the title game. This time, they had to play it out to get there. From here, the Big Ten will be considered seriously. The Pac-12 too. And the Big 12.

Meyer, who's 50 years old, has put it all together, blended past and present and future. South and West and Midwest. The only thing left is to see if he will hold up physically and emotionally while Saban, 63, chases back and while Jim Harbaugh, 51, comes after him too.

Ohio State is young and looking to start a dynasty. It always looks like that after a big moment, though. Meyer's spot in history is permanent, but the chase, actually, is never complete.

 

Greg Couch covers college football for Bleacher Report.

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Did NCAA Drug Policy Cost Oregon a National Championship?

The absence of Oregon wide receiver Darren Carrington by itself didn't cost the Ducks a national championship victory. It was, however, one of many challenges Oregon faced against Ohio State on Monday night in a 42-20 loss. 

Carrington, as you will recall, failed an NCAA-administered drug test for marijuana and did not travel to Arlington, Texas, for the title game, as reported by Aaron Fentress of CSNNW.com. The production that Oregon's offense lost as a result is a mixed bag. On one hand, Carrington led all receivers with seven catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns in the Rose Bowl victory over Florida State.

On the other hand, Carrington had just 37 receptions and four touchdowns on the season, both of which ranked fourth on the team. It's not like he had established himself as a game-changer. 

Oregon was already without receiver Devon Allen and tight end Pharaoh Brown heading into Monday because of knee injuries. Did Carrington's suspension by itself cost Oregon the national title? Not by a long shot, but the loss coupled with the previous attrition undoubtedly affected Oregon's overall production. 

“It’s tough to lose those guys, but I felt that the guys who did play stepped up and made plays,” Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota said, via Carlos Mendez of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “We rotate so many receivers, each guy has a lot of experience and was prepared to play.”

In some ways, Mariota is correct. Oregon has had health issues at wide receiver all season. As a result, the Ducks have played a lot of different bodies there. 

Mariota still put up 333 yards passing, about half of which went to leading receiver Byron Marshall. However, many of those yards ultimately proved to be empty. The Ducks scored one touchdown on four red-zone trips against on of the worst red-zone defenses in the country and were 2-of-12 on third downs, many of which were obvious passing situations. 

It's impossible to relive every play and wonder how it would have been different if the Ducks had their full lineup in place. Whether it was a dropped pass by Dwayne Stanford or an inaccurate pass from Mariota, Oregon's offense wasn't clicking. 

On the flip side, give credit to Ohio State. Other than a one-play, 70-yard touchdown pass to Marshall, the Buckeyes made Oregon earn most of its yards. Two of the Ducks' scoring drives were at least 11 plays; a third covered only 17 yards on six plays—and that resulted in a field goal. 

Ohio State did as good a job of stopping Oregon's ground game (four yards per rush allowed) as anyone this season. The Buckeyes were able to do it with their talented defensive line. That allowed the back seven to make plays in space. 

Sure, Oregon picked up yards, but when the field got short and the windows got tight in the red zone, Ohio State's defense stepped up.  

Oregon lost for many reasons, and not all can be pinned on the offense. Most notably, Oregon couldn't tackle Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott to save its life. However, in fairness to the Ducks, attempting to bring down Elliott has drawn comparisons to corralling a midsize SUV going full speed down a highway. No one should want any part of that. 

It wasn't just Oregon that couldn't contain the two-headed monster of Elliott and quarterback Cardale Jones. Alabama, which ranked among the best rushing defenses all season heading into the College Football Playoff, allowed Elliott to run for 230 yards and gave up 281 yards on the whole to the Buckeyes in the Sugar Bowl.

In fact, if you want to pick nits, the Tide gave up 6.7 yards per rush against Ohio State. The Ducks gave up a more modest (if you will) 4.9 yards per rush. Still, it was Oregon, not Ohio State, that was gassed and beat down as time expired. 

That was the unexpected outcome of the national championship. Losing Carrington didn't help, but it also didn't result in Oregon being bowled over by a more physical team. 

 

Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. Stats courtesy of cfbstats.com

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College Football Buy or Sell for 2015 Teams

The 2014 season is wrapped up, and we are already looking ahead to next season. 

Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Adam Kramer, Barrett Sallee and Michael Felder debate which teams you should buy or sell heading into the 2015 season. 

Which team would you buy for the 2015 season?

Watch the video and let us know!

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AP College Football Poll 2015: Final Ranking Released After Championship Game

On the heels of its triumph in the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship Game, Ohio State closes the 2014-15 campaign atop the rankings.

According to CBSSports.com, the Buckeyes received all 59 first-place votes in the final AP Top 25 poll of the season. Despite its 42-20 loss Monday, Oregon checks in at No. 2.

Here is a full rundown of the rankings:

The Top Two teams don't come as much of a surprise, as OSU and Oregon were able to work their way through the season and the CFP semis to reach the title game.

TCU jumps out at No. 3, however, since it did not qualify for the College Football Playoff. It leapfrogged CFP representatives Alabama and Florida State after thrashing Ole Miss 42-3 in the Peach Bowl.

Baylor also felt snubbed when it failed to make the CFP, and it ultimately finished seventh in the poll, which is an all-time best result for the program, per Baylor Football on Twitter:

Michigan State beat the Bears in the Cotton Bowl, and the Spartans made history in their own right with the No. 5 ranking, according to Mike Griffith of MLive.com:

Some rankings are up for debate, as always, but there is no denying that Ohio State earned its spot atop the heap. The Buckeyes were seen by many as being a year away from contending, and with the amount of young talent on their roster, they have to like their chances for next season, as well. 

Oregon also possesses a glut of young talent that only figures to improve, but questions surround their starting quarterback position. With Marcus Mariota's draft status still a mystery, the Ducks could be training a new signal caller next year, which throws their fortunes into doubt. 

With victories over Alabama and Oregon en route to a championship, the Buckeyes are the class of college football.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter

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Cold Hard Fact for Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Fact: Cardale Jones: 3rd career start; the fewest by a starting QB to win a national championship game

Source: ESPN Stats & Info

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Chipper Jones Had Some Weird Reactions to the CFP National Championship

The Ohio State Buckeyes offered up a monsoon of turnovers Monday night and somehow still managed to handily defeat Oregon, 42-20, in the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship.

While fans across the nation had their fun imbibing and live-tweeting the event, only Chipper Jones got weird enough to document the game via selfies.

The former Atlanta Braves third baseman tweeted out facial expressions in response to certain plays and developments. He is not a fan of either team. He’s just a crazy, excited person and cat owner:

Cheers, Chipper. May your sleeveless cat selfies live forever.

 

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Which Recruits Have the Best Hands in the 2015 Class?

With the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in the rearview mirror and national signing day quickly approaching, all eyes are on the 2015 recruiting class.

Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Michael Felder, Barrett Sallee and Adam Kramer reveal which recruit they believe has the best hands in the class.

Who has the best hands in the 2015 class? Check out the video and let us know!

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The Case for Braxton Miller to Transfer from Ohio State to Oregon

As confetti fell from the sky at AT&T Stadium and the two participants in the College Football Playoff National Championship left the field, the elephants in each postgame locker room were the quarterbacks.

For Ohio State, redshirt sophomore Cardale Jones had just wrapped up winning his third title in as many starts—the Big Ten title, Sugar Bowl title and national title. Redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett, who helped the Buckeyes win the Big Ten championship and posted an 11-1 record as a starter, should be back after fracturing his ankle in the win over Michigan.

Braxton Miller, longtime starter and superstar dual-threat weapon, could return from a shoulder injury suffered in August for one more shot at glory.

It's a "rich man's problem."

Oregon doesn't have that luxury.

Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota conceivably could come back to play his senior season, but when you're projected to be a first-round draft pick, you go pro. Unless Mariota shocks the college football world—again—head coach Mark Helfrich will be looking for a new quarterback in 2015.

Could that quarterback have been in the winning locker room on Monday night?

Miller entered the season as a Heisman contender, graduated last semester and is eligible to play immediately as a graduate transfer.

He was noncommittal on his future in Columbus following the title game.

"I've got to get my shoulder right," he told Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com.

Former Oregon State running back (and current Atlanta Falcon) Jacquizz Rodgers seems to think it's a possibility.

Once Miller's shoulder is 100 percent, Eugene would be the perfect place for him to finish his career.

 

Playing Time Available

The world got a brief glimpse of backup quarterback Jeff Lockie late in the title game, when he came in for Mariota after Buckeye defensive end Joey Bosa came down hard on the Heisman Trophy winner. Lockie was 0-for-1 in the game, 21-of-28 on the season and really hasn't had the chance to impress for prolonged periods of time heading into his redshirt junior season.

Is he the guy?

What about Georgia Tech transfer Ty Griffin, rising redshirt freshman Morgan Mahalak or incoming dual-threat stud Travis Waller?

If there's a quarterback of the future, it's Waller—a 4-star stud from Anaheim, California, who was been impressive to scouts.

"Waller is an awesome quarterback prospect to watch," said Bleacher Report national college football video analyst Michael Felder. "He's a kid with good athleticism, but who is comfortable in the pocket slinging it around. In watching him live and on tape, the ball just jumps out of his hand and he's got quality accuracy moving the ball vertically."

Elusiveness? Arm strength? The ability to create behind the line of scrimmage? 

Yep, Waller has all of that, as evidenced by this 92-yard touchdown pass in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Would any of the current quarterbacks transfer if Miller showed up this offseason? With the possible exception of Lockie, probably not.

Waller, Mahalak and Griffin could all use some polish as backups, and sitting behind Miller for a season would allow all of them to battle in 2016 for a spot with another year of work in the system under their belts.

 

Weapons to Succeed

It didn't look like it during the title game at times, but Oregon still has plenty of weapons for Mariota to be successful and make a run to the Pac-12 title. Miller has thrown for 5,292 yards, 52 touchdowns and 17 picks during three seasons in Columbus, and added 3,054 rushing yards and 33 rushing touchdowns.

Those are video game numbers, so why not join the "video game offense?"

Running backs Royce Freeman, Thomas Tyner and Byron Marshall are all coming back, as are receivers Darren Carrington, Devon Allen, Bralon Addison and Dwayne Stanford, as well as tight ends Evan Baylis and Pharaoh Brown.

That's an embarrassment of riches for any quarterback, particularly one who has top-tier talent.

What's more, Oregon already has 4-star running back Taj Griffin and 4-star wide receiver Alex Ofodile in house as early enrollees in the class of 2015 and more coming in a class that ranks in the top 20 in the 247Sports team recruiting rankings.

The offensive line has to replace some key pieces including tackle Jake Fisher and center Hroniss Grasu, which should be a concern, but that would be really the only concern for Oregon's offense if Miller is the one taking the snaps.

 

Acclimation Wouldn't Take Long

What would the adjustment be like for Miller? While the two offenses are different in terms of pace and style, he's used to the spread elements, efficient passing game and zone-read concepts that are common in Oregon's offense.

What's more, Oregon's fast-paced system is designed for simplicity at the line of scrimmage, which speeds up the learning curve for everybody associated with the offense.

That could be a big piece of the transfer puzzle for Miller, who might not be ready for spring practice, as noted by Matt Hayes of Sporting News (via: Chris Littmann):

As a graduate, he can transfer now if he can find a home, and simply getting mental reps during spring practice would not only help him, but also the younger players who get actual first-team reps.

Mariota stepped in as a redshirt freshman in place of Darron Thomas, and the offense didn't miss a beat. Thomas stepped in as a sophomore for Jeremiah Masoli and led the Ducks to the 2011 BCS National Championship Game following the 2010 season. 

It's a great system that's designed for simplicity, speed and efficiency—all of which would benefit Miller as he recovers from his shoulder injury.

 

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a co-host of the CFB Hangover on Bleacher Report Radio (Sundays, 9-11 a.m. ET) on Sirius 93, XM 208.

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of cfbstats.com, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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Ohio State vs. Oregon: ESPN Reveals Rating for 2015 National Championship Game

The inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship delivered the highest overnight rating in the history of ESPN. Ohio State's victory over Oregon reportedly received an 18.5 metered market rating based on Nielsen figures.

Derek Volner of ESPN MediaZone reports the rating marks a 21 percent increase over last year's title game, and it reached a peak of 20.5. The outlet also provided several additional options for watching the game, which, when combined, bumped the overall number even higher [sic]: "In addition to the traditional telecast, ESPN offered more than 12 ways to watch last night's championship game through the 'CFP Megacast.' ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and ESPNEWS combined to averaged 18.9 metered market average, up 20% (15.7) from the 2014 BCS Megascast."

Total viewership in terms of the number of people watching the game was not immediately released.

Unsurprisingly, the release also notes Columbus, Ohio (home of the Buckeyes), led the way with an eye-popping 51.2 market rating. A total of 22 different metered markets also set new records for postseason college football viewership.

The game itself lived up to the hype as Oregon came back from an early deficit to cut the lead to one point midway through the third quarter. Ohio State responded with three straight touchdowns from Ezekiel Elliott to post the 42-20 triumph.

Under the old system, the Buckeyes don't even receive a chance to play for the title. Now, they are the national champions. Pair that with the record-setting ratings, and it's fair to say the first-ever College Football Playoff was a success.

 

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CFP National Championship 2015: Best Performances in Oregon vs. OSU

You might not have seen it coming, but the Ohio State Buckeyes are officially the champions of college football.

The Buckeyes shocked the nation with an upset win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl before following that up with another surprising victory over Oregon in the College Football Playoff National Championship. Cardale Jones moved to 3-0 as a starting quarterback in his career, outdueling Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.

It wasn't the quarterbacks who decided this game, though. It was a great team effort that helped continue a trend throughout the season, which head coach Urban Meyer expanded upon after the game:

Jones might end up in the spotlight as Ohio State's starting quarterback, but these are the players who had the best performances for each team Monday night.

 

Troy Hill, CB, Oregon

It's hard to find players who truly stood out for Oregon in the blowout loss, but one person who gave a solid effort was cornerback Troy Hill.

The senior was thrust into a bigger role during the past two games with All-American Ifo Ekpre-Olomu out with a knee injury. This led to problems early as he was called for pass interference in the end zone.

On the plus side, he made up for it with a big play later on, as noted by Ivan Maisel of ESPN:

Besides the forced fumble, he also helped slow down big-play receiver Devin Smith, who finished with just one catch. Though Oregon's defense struggled to slow down Ohio State, Hill did his job for the most part in this one.

 

Byron Marshall, WR, Oregon

His outing would have been much different if the referee had ruled he dropped the ball before crossing the goal line, but instead, Byron Marshall finished with the best day of anyone in an Oregon jersey.

The receiver ended up with eight catches for 169 yards and a 70-yard touchdown that helped keep the game close in the third quarter. Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated summed up the game for the youngster:

A former running back, Marshall was converted to a receiver this season and became Mariota's top target over the course of the year. He is dynamic with the ball in his hands, although he occasionally lacked consistency.

Fortunately, he came through with a great effort against Ohio State, despite his team falling way short of victory.

 

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

The entire offensive line for Ohio State deserves a lot of credit for the team's success, but Ezekiel Elliott was truly incredible for the Buckeyes once again.

Brent Yarina of Big Ten Network shows just how good the running back has been over the past three games:

Elliott was simply unstoppable against Oregon, gaining big chunks of yards whenever he touched the ball. He set the tone early with a 33-yard touchdown run, then kept it going with three more scores and a national title game record of 246 rushing yards.

By the end of the game, it was almost comical to think the Ducks were capable of making a stop on the ground.

The running back has turned himself into a household name and a favorite for the 2015 Heisman Trophy, thanks to an unbelievable showing for Ohio State.

 

Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State

Tyvis Powell was named defensive MVP, but this doesn't do Darron Lee justice. The linebacker was a big factor in the win over Alabama with two sacks and had another huge performance against Oregon.

Charles Davis of Fox Sports gave his impression of Lee over the two games:

Meanwhile, Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee couldn't help but notice the sophomore's play:

Lee made stops in the red zone, he was active in pass rushes and could also be seen helping out in coverage. The defensive line won the battle in the trenches to slow down Oregon, but Lee was one of the key elements to the unit's success.

Considering Lee, Elliott, Joey Bosa and others are all returning next season, Ohio State is going to be a dangerous bunch.

 

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.

 

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