Inaugural college play-off kicks off

December 29, 2014 17:28:32 UK

Oregon, Florida State, Alabama and Ohio State contest the semi-finals of the college football play-offs on Thursday, with battles at the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl.

The Ducks, Seminoles, Crimson Tide and Buckeyes take center stage while the Bears of Baylor, ranked fourth by the Associated Press, and TCU must be content with games against Michigan State and Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl and Peach Bowl respectively.

Tradition is not completely forgotten however with Oregon playing in the Rose Bowl, the historical destination of the Pac-12 champion.

Usually matched against an opponent from the Big Ten, the collegiate football playoff panel instead sent the unbeaten defending national champion Seminoles of Florida State to Southern California in a match-up of the two best quarterbacks in the country.

This year’s Heisman trophy winner Marcus Mariota faces last year’s in Jameis Winston in what will be the signature battle of the Rose Bowl.

Down in New Orleans the situation is remarkably different. Blake Sims won the quarterbacking job in Tuscaloosa during the spring and has had a fine year guided by offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.

Nick Saban’s hire of the former USC and Tennessee head coach has been a boon for the Alabama offense who have averaged 37 points per contest.

Meanwhile, over on the Ohio State sideline the Buckeyes send third string quarterback Cardale Jones out for the sophomore’s second start.

Jones impressed in the 59-0 rout of Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship enough for the play-off panel to controversially overlook Baylor and TCU and the lack of tape on the QB may actual aid Urban Meyer and Ohio State as they look to pull the upset on the top ranked Tide.

Ohio State areĀ 9.00 to win the NCAAF Championship, with Florida StateĀ 9.00 and Alabama 1.90.

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