New college football bracket unveiled

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After endless debate and speculation, the inaugural College Football Playoff bracket was unveiled Sunday.

The 12-member selection committee ranked the nation’s four best teams as Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, and Ohio State. Baylor and TCU were ranked fifth and sixth, respectively.

No. 1 Alabama will face No. 4 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, and No. 2 Oregon will square off against No. 3 Florida State in the Rose Bowl. The winners of those games will compete for the national championship on Jan. 12 in Arlington, Texas.

The penultimate rankings, released last week, had TCU as the third-ranked team in the country. Despite defeating a two-win Iowa State team 55-3 on Saturday, the Horned Frogs fell three spots and no longer have an opportunity to win a national title.

Baylor and TCU, both members of the Big 12, were unable to add significantly to their résumé because the conference does not have a conference championship game.

Ohio State, the Big 10 Champions, won their conference title in impressive fashion by defeating Wisconsin 59-0 in Indianapolis, led by third-string quarterback Cardale Jones, making his first career start.

Marcus Mariota of Oregon (Wikipedia)
Marcus Mariota of Oregon

“I don’t think there’s any doubt we’re one of the top four teams in America,” said Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer after the game. The selection committee agreed with Meyer Sunday.

Florida State, despite being the only undefeated team in the field, was ranked third after a difficult 37-35 victory over Georgia Tech in the ACC title game. The defending national champions have won four consecutive games by less than a touchdown.

The Oregon Ducks won the Pac-12 Championship Friday night with an impressive 51-13 win over the Arizona Wildcats. Oregon’s only loss this season was against Arizona on Oct. 2.

The Ducks will bring Heisman Trophy frontrunner Marcus Mariota to Pasadena on New Year’s Day in a showdown with the Seminoles and last year’s winner, Jameis Winston.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban will be vying for his fifth career national title, and fourth since becoming Alabama’s head coach in 2007.