The Oregon roster is shriking.
Wide receiver Darren Carrington has been ruled ineligible for the College Football Playoff championship game, Ducks coach Mark Helfrich said. Helfrich wouldn’t say why, but multiple reports say Carrington failed a drug test.
Carrington caught seven passes against Florida State in the Rose Bowl, matching his total from the Pac-12 title game victory over Arizona.
Running back Ayele Forde also did not travel with the team after failing a drug test.
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They become the latest offensive players to become unavailable to Oregon. Wide receiver Devon Allen injured his knee on the opening kickoff against the Seminoles, and tight end Pharaoh Brown is out because of a leg injury.
“We’ve been tested in that realm of guys not being available for whatever reason all season long ,and our guys have stepped up,” Ducks coach Mark Helfrich said.
From Olathe to Eugene
Jimmie Swain IV of Olathe North originally committed to TCU. But he had a change of heart, and at the Semper Fidelis All-America Bowl, he said he was headed to Oregon.
Swaim, an inside linebacker, appeared in eight games this season and recorded a total of 10 tackles, with a season-best three against Wyoming.
“It’s been great,” Swaim said. “This team is really close. We had some adversity (with injuries) earlier this season that we’ve overcome.”
Ducks defensive coordinator Don Pellum likes Swaim’s upside.
“He’s a person who cares about school and football, and if he continues to progress that way he’s going to have a wonderful career here,” Pellum said.
College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said he expects the Big 12 to name a replacement on the committee for outgoing member Oliver Luck by spring.
Luck will leave his post as West Virginia’s athletic director to take a position with the NCAA. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby will make the call.
Also, Archie Manning, who took a leave of absence from the committee for health issues, could return if his health allows.
“We’re going to figure it out,” Manning said. “I want to do it.”
Four teams, not eight
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said the health of the players is the reason why he prefers to keep the College Football Playoff at four teams.
“It’s been 22 weeks of football for us,” Meyer said. “That’s 22 weeks of football without a break, and at Ohio State they’re starting classes on Monday.”
The Buckeyes and Ducks will play in their 15th game on Monday. If there’s any discussion about expanding the field Meyer said he wants to see coaches and players involved in the discussion.
“That has to happen,” Meyer said. “That’s common sense.”
TCU’s Patterson: No Big 12 title game
TCU coach Gary Patterson could see some tweaks to the College Football Playoff system, but a Big 12 championship game — an event that might have helped his Horned Frogs’ postseason chances — isn’t one of them.
“I don’t think you need it,” Patterson said. “We play everybody. We decided as a group we needed co-champions, maybe that hurt us. Maybe we need to decide that’s not how we should do it. I like playing everybody and whoever gets to end and the fewest losses, that’s the champion.”
TCU and Baylor tied for first with 8-1 records. The Frogs lost to Baylor during the regular season, but neither team was selected for the College Football Playoff bracket, and there was some chatter that the Big 12 was disadvantaged by not having a conference title game. The semifinalists — Oregon, Ohio State, Florida State and Alabama — all won a league championship game.
TCU was ranked third by the playoff committee going into the final weekend, beat Iowa State in its finale 55-3, and dropped out of the top four. But Patterson didn’t gripe ... by design.
“A lot of people know more about TCU and Gary Patterson because of the way we handled it,” Patterson said.
To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @BlairKerkhoff.