The College Football Playoff will determine the national champion, but the loser isn’t necessarily No. 2. That position remains the domain of voters in The Associated Press poll and USA Today coaches poll.
The Oregon-Ohio State loser will have a 13-2 record. Everybody else is in the books, and three teams have one loss: TCU (12-1), Florida State (13-1) and Marshall (13-1). The Horned Frogs, coming off a 42-3 victory over Mississippi in the Peach Bowl, would have the best chance to make a move.
TCU is sixth in both major polls, but of the five teams ahead of the Frogs, only Monday’s winner will have captured its final game.
TCU coach Gary Patterson said he will vote his team second or third in the final poll, and has Baylor in the top six or seven.
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Beck to Ohio State
Tim Beck, who spent the last seven seasons as Nebraska’s offensive coordinator, will join Ohio State’s staff after the championship game, several news outlets reported.
Beck wasn’t retained by Mike Riley, who replaced Bo Pelini as the Cornhuskers’ head coach last month.
Beck went to Nebraska from Kansas, where he was passing game coordinator for the Jayhawks’ Orange Bowl championship team.
The title game could be light on NFL Draft first-round selections.
Mock drafts have Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota rivaling Florida State’s Jameis Winston as the top player taken. Mariota would be no worse than the second quarterback drafted.
Other possible first-round choices are Ohio State defensive tackle Michael Bennett and Oregon defensive ends DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead.
That’s about it. It’s possible that the Ducks and Buckeyes will have fewer first-round selections combined than Florida State, which has four first-rounders in some projections.
After the score of the championship game, the next most important numbers will be the television ratings.
The CFP office was thrilled with the semifinal numbers in the Rose and Sugar Bowls, with the games on ESPN setting records for cable viewing. More than 28 million watched both games. The games outdrew or matched three of the four NFL wild-card playoff games that weekend.
In the Playoff/BCS era, the most viewed game was Texas’ victory over Southern California for the 2005 championship, attracting 35.6 million viewers. Alabama-Texas for 2009 drew 30.8 million; Ohio State-Miami, 29.1 for 2002; and Florida-Ohio State 28.8 for 2006. Those were the only title games that outdrew this year’s semifinals.
Some media experts have projected more than 40 million will view the Oregon-Ohio State game.