1. Florida State completely collapsed. You know what they say about pressure: it bursts pipes or creates diamonds. Or sometimes, when Oregon is running you to the limit of your football credit, it takes your diamonds, flushes them down the world's biggest pipes, and then stuffs you into the great sucking drain of history.
That is what happened when Florida State lost, 59-20, New Year's Day. It feels like a kind of duty to note, out of sportsmanship, just how monumental a thing ended in the Rose Bowl. The Seminoles had won 29 in a row, won two ACC titles and one national title, and garnered a Heisman Trophy for Jameis Winston. That all happened, and nothing can ever take that away from Florida State. Look, it's in a book and in the records and everything.
2. But that -- is that how you want it to end? The suspicions all along for the Seminoles this year were that they were skating along in a weak conference, aided and abetted by the longest string of fortuitous bounces and tips ever, and bailed out in key situations by the holy triumverate of Jameis, Nick O'Leary, and Rashad Greene. And it should have been so easy to call their bluff, and yet no one could, not Louisville, not Notre Dame, not Florida, not even Miami playing at home.
3. They were going to steal a title, and you were going to haaaaaaate how they did it.
4. Even at the half, you thought it was going to happen. FSU only trailed, 18-13, and was in prime position to do the dastardly thing it'd done all year long. The Seminoles were going to steal the train. They were going to run into the sunset with your horses and your children, and then Dalvin Cook fumbled, and Oregon scored. But there, at 25-13, right there, that's when Florida State would do that thing, and throw a few passes and get this back to a one-score game, and that's what they did, but then another Cook fumble.
5. Then Jameis Winston scrambled his way into his personal disaster meme.
Winston could try to do that a thousand times and fail to duplicate it. It is a piece of failure so perfect it is its own achievement. It is a spastic piece of randomness unlike any other in the entire scope of human history. And all joking aside, this is when you knew the game was over at 45-20: not because of the score, but because no one recovers from a line in the script like this.
6. Be clear on this, too: Oregon beat FSU off that pedestal. It's fun to imagine the Seminoles playing a game of solitaire with fate and losing badly, but Oregon did things to Florida State no team could survive for 60 minutes. The Ducks had perimeter blockers rolling Seminole DBs like tumbleweeds on screens. Thomas Tyner and Evan Baylis were pure cruelty with the ball in their hands, particularly Tyner, who towards the end of the game wandered between the tackles lonely and untouched.
You have to revise a lot of things after today, not the least of which might be the idea that Oregon runs anything involving the word "finesse." You shouldn't have thought this anyway, but if it takes the debris field of what used to be Florida State to convince you, then fine. Be convinced.
7. Then, after all that, you had to watch AN ENTIRE OTHER STUNNING FOOTBALL GAME AFTER THAT STUNNING HISTORICAL REVERSAL.
8. AND THAT MERCILESS GAME DID NOT TAKE IT EASY ON YOU. It tried, at first. Alabama took an easy lead off turnovers, first-time Ohio State starting quarterback Cardale Jones looked shaky, and Alabama slipped into a warm bath of fulfilled expectations. Then Ezekiel Elliott started running the ball, and Jones ...
9. A word about Cardale Jones. Jones ran his way out of a potential game-killing safety with, like, three Alabama defenders on his back. He threw balls 50 yards with a sniffy little flick of his wrist. He ran like a piece of warehouse machinery that broke away driverless from its handlers.
Jones is the third-string quarterback for the Buckeyes and played a better game than the starting quarterback for Alabama. I'm still not sure how he did it, or how anyone ever beat him out for the starting job. He appears to be something large and metal and controlled by wires, and it was immense fun watching him play football with humans.
10. Ezekiel Elliott ran for 230 yards on a Nick Saban defense. The Buckeyes defense bracketed Amari Cooper successfully. Like, they actually did it, unlike everyone else who tried to defend him this year. The Buckeyes defensive line forced Blake Sims into ghastly throws and ghastlier INTs. Darron Lee made, by my estimates, something like 80 shoestring tackles. That number may not be exact, but it feels right.
All of these things happened that don't ever happen to Alabama, and Ohio State did all of them on the same night.
11. The score lies to you, because the scary thing for Alabama was that it wasn't as close as 42-35 on the stat sheet. Ohio State outgained Alabama by 130 yards. The Buckeyes controlled the tempo, so much so that Ohio State threw with a lead and the clock running because ... well, because they wanted to, dammit. They threw the ball and stopped the clock with their third-string quarterback in because they could.
12. This was an asskicking delivered after an asskicking, even if the score was closer than it appeared. The SEC West was a rotten log, and Ohio State delivered the final kick shattering its reputation into so much musty termite food.
13. This all happened in the same day, and let's never do this any differently, college football.