The inaugural College Football Playoff national championship game is set.
And for the first time since 2006, a team from the SEC won’t play in it.
Ohio State, fourth in the College Football Playoff rankings and starting third-string QB Cardale Jones, stunned No. 1 Alabama 42-35 in the Sugar Bowl to complete the matchup with Oregon, which dismantled Florida State in the Rose Bowl.
A SEC team played for the national championship for eight consecutive years, beginning on Jan. 8, 2007, when Florida defeated Ohio State. Florida, Alabama, LSU and Auburn combined to win seven consecutive national titles before FSU defeated Auburn last year.
Alabama couldn’t ovecome Blake Sims’ two interceptions, one that was returned for a touchdown and the other at Ohio State’s goal line after a short punt had handed the Crimson Tide excellent field position in the fourth quarter.
The Crimson Tide won national titles in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
Coincidentally, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer led Florida to national titles in 2006 and 2008.
Oregon advanced by wrecking defending national champ FSU’s 29-game win streak by hanging the first loss on Jameis Winston’s
career (26-1). The Ducks made the most of the Seminoles’ five turnovers for a 59-20 victory in the Rose Bowl.
Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota threw for 336 yards and two TDs as second-seeded Oregon (13-1) piled up 639 yards of offense and scored six straight times it touched the ball in the second half.
Talk about a run for the roses, the Ducks outscored the Seminoles 41-7 in the second half.
“It’s incredible. I’m so proud of these guys right here,” Mariota said after the game. “We’ve got one more to take care of.”