With Christmas now over and the NFL regular season complete it is time for college bowl games. There are thirty-eight bowl games in addition to a national championship game and two of the biggest games will be played on New Year’s Day. The number four Ohio State Buckeyes will take on the number one Alabama Crimson Tide in the Allstate Sugar Bowl whereas the second seeded Oregon Ducks will face off against the third seeded Florida State Seminoles in the Rose Bowl. People all across the country will be ringing in the New Year and finding a spot in front of a big screen to watch football.
The Buckeyes moved into the four spot after both TCU and Baylor failed to secure a spot. The top three had been in top spots for much of the season already and Florida State won the National Championship game last year. OSU had a year full of difficulties most notably at the quarterback position. Before the season even began, quarterback Braxton Miller was out for the season after sustaining another injury to his right shoulder. Miller was injured while throwing a short pass in practice after the senior declared he was one-hundred percent healthy after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. The OSU quarterback was already being called a Heisman Trophy contender.
With Miller out, the Buckeyes turned to redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett to be their starter for the season. Barrett, a recruit out of Wichita Falls, Texas had never played in a game. He lead the Buckeyes to eleven wins before being injured in one of college football’s biggest rivalry games of the season, Michigan Wolverines verse the Ohio State Buckeyes. During the game, Barrett suffered a fractured right ankle and had to undergo surgery the following day. The Texas native’s season had come to an end.
OSU once again had a new player in the quarterback position. The team now turned to their third string quarterback to lead them through the rest of the season. Cardale Jones grew up in Cleveland, about a two-hour drive to Columbus and the Ohio State campus. He grew up with very little structure or consistency and with no father. Jones, a redshirt sophomore led the Buckeyes to a 59-0 shutout against the Wisconsin Badgers. Jones stepped up in a big way and helped lead the team to a fourth seed.
Unlike Ohio State, Alabama has had the same quarterback all season. Blake Sims, a fifth year senior was in the leader role all year after winning the position over Florida State transfer Jake Coker. The Crimson Tide finished the regular season with a record of 12-1, losing their one game of the season to Ole Miss, 17-23. Throughout the season, though there were moments of struggles and adversity as the team almost finished the season with more than one loss.
One of those games came the week after Ole Miss when Alabama traveled to Arkansas to take on the Razorbacks. The Crimson Tide played a game full of errors and midway through the third quarter only had three rushing yards. Alabama missed a short field goal and committed two turnovers in the first half. Thanks to a missed extra point by the Razorbacks, Alabama was able to hold onto a victory.
The quarterbacks for OSU and Alabama were not Heisman contenders, but they both are players who for one reason or another have been put into the leadership position. The Buckeyes have plenty of football fans who will not be rooting for them as TCU and Baylor feel they were cheated out of a seed, but new fans may come out of the woodwork to see how their third-string quarterback will fare in a big bowl game against a number one seeded team. Ohio loves its sports though and no matter if it is the first, second or third string quarterback you best believe New Orleans will be full of fans yelling, “O-H-I-O”. Roll Tears Roll.