Have Ohio State And The Rest Of The North Caught Up To The Southeastern Conference?


Jan 12, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock hands the trophy to Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer as his wife Shelley Meyer (middle) looks on after the 2015 CFP National Championship Game against the Oregon Ducks at AT&T Stadium. Ohio State defeated Oregon 42-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since 2006, we did not see a Southeastern Conference (SEC) powerhouse in the National Championship game.  Had we not changed over to a playoff, that trend would have continued as Alabama would have likely played Oregon or Florida State.

The college football playoffs were a huge success this year, creating more excitement, and giving other teams a shot at capturing a championship.

Two “northern” programs battled last night, one program from the Pac-12 and the other from the Big Ten.

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  • I was cheering for Oregon last night, as I wanted to see the Ducks win their first-ever National Championship.  Instead, the Ohio State Buckeyes capped off a remarkable run, winning with a third-string quarterback and defying the odds in a 42-20 victory.  In an ESPN poll, every state except Ohio predicted the Ducks to win.

    For quarterback Cardale Jones to come into action for the Big Ten Championship, NCAA Playoff vs a Nick Saban Alabama squad, and the NCAA Championship vs Oregon, it truly was a rare phenomenon.

    Yes, it helps that sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott ran for nearly 250 yards each game, but what Jones did was unfathomable if you really think about it.

    I didn’t think Ohio State belonged in the Final Four, but they proved me wrong.  Maybe TCU would have done the same thing, but we’ll never know.

    Hey NCAA, expand the playoffs to eight!  This would only add more excitement and opportunity for other programs.

    Most importantly, the playoffs and run by Ohio State meant much more than just a championship.  It appears that the almighty SEC powerhouses have fallen back to the “pack” and aren’t as superior to the rest of the country as the media proclaims.

    Has the “North” caught up to the “South” with regards to talent and speed?

    I think we are beginning to see a cyclical shift, as the SEC is no longer the cream of the crop.  Other power 5 programs have been successful in recruiting the South.

    The Big Ten and ACC claim the last two titles.  The Pac-12 has been close with Oregon’s spread attack, and the Big 12 may be looking into a championship game after the omission of TCU and Baylor this season in the NCAA Playoff.

    1. Urban Meyer has successfully rebuilt Ohio State after retiring from coaching and leaving Florida a few years back.  All you need to look at is the quarterback depth chart in Columbus.  Whoa.  The Buckeyes now claim 8 titles.
    2. The Oregon Ducks have continued success with a fast-paced spread attack, but they are still searching for their first championship.
    3. Michigan recently hired Jim Harbaugh, who built Stanford to power and led the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance.  Look for the Wolverines to rebuild soon and look for their 12th title.
    4. Michigan State and Wisconsin have been very successful in the Big Ten in recent years.
    5. West Virginia made a jump forward this season, nearly beating Alabama in the college football opener and found themselves in the rankings for a while.  They were also more competitive in the Big 12.  The Mountaineers continue to fight for their first title.
    6. Pitt still has much work to do, though there is a sense of hope with the hiring of Pat Narduzzi from Michigan State.  The athletic department has reaffirmed a committment to winning, so time will tell on the turnaround of this program.  The Panthers do have 9 National Championships, though those have occurred a long time ago.
    7. Penn State continues to tread through sanctions and will be looking to rebound in the next few seasons under James Franklin.  The Nittany Lions continue to strive for a third title.

    An Ohio State championship should benefit all these programs in one way or another, as a geographical shift in successful college football programs could play a huge role in recruiting.

    As for SEC losses during the bowl season, the Big Ten made a statement, and other conferences pitched in as well:

    • No. 4 Ohio State defeated No. 1 Alabama 42-35 in the Sugar Bowl NCAA Playoff.
    • No. 18 Wisconsin won a thriller against No. 19 Auburn 34-31.
    • No. 12 Georgia Tech knocked off No. 7 Mississippi State 49-34.
    • No. 6 TCU trounced No. 9 Ole Miss 42-3.
    • Notre Dame defeated No. 23 LSU 31-28.

    Aside from losses by SEC squads, other southern teams fell to northern counterparts:

    • No. 8 Michigan State won a thriller against No. 5 Baylor 42-41.
    • No. 2 Oregon steamrolled the No. 3 defending champ Florida State Seminoles 59-20.

    In the final NCAA rankings, each power 5 conference finished with 2 teams in the top-10, with the Big Ten having the highest rated teams (1 and 5).

    Talented northern recruits do not have to go to a southern school to be successful and win a championship.

    Or was this past season a fluke, and next year will return to SEC supremacy?  Time will tell.

    In case you were curious, here are the past nine National Championship games:

    • 2014: Ohio State defeated Oregon 42-20 in the first championship since 2006 without a SEC squad.
    • 2013: Florida State defeated Auburn 34-31, ending the SEC 7-year title reign.
    • 2012: Alabama defeated Notre Dame 42-14 in a blowout.
    • 2011: Alabama defeated LSU 21-0 in an All-SEC showdown.
    • 2010: Auburn defeated Oregon 22-19.
    • 2009: Alabama defeated Texas 37-21.
    • 2008: Florida defeated Oklahoma 24-14.
    • 2007: LSU defeated Ohio State 38-24.
    • 2006: Florida defeated Ohio State 41-14.

    The SEC has been dominant, but time will tell if a shift in power is occurring.  One thing we can confirm is that Urban Meyer is a pretty good coach and recruiter.

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