Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cranked Up Urban Meyer Revels in Buckeyes Title, Rosy Future

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cranked Up Urban Meyer Revels in Buckeyes Title, Rosy Future

Article excerpt

ARLINGTON, Texas -- If Ohio State's players said they were at a loss for words, the scene early Tuesday morning at AT&T Stadium was worth a million of them.

All the emotions from an implausible football season suddenly came undammed in a burst of joy. Doran Grant and a mass of his teammates dove headfirst into the golden confetti piled inches deep on the turf, then rolled over to carve out angels. Others futilely fought off tears.

"I don't cry," tight end Jeff Heuerman said after the Buckeyes vanquished Oregon, 42-20, in the first College Football Playoff championship. "And I was crying."

"Just a dream," quarterback Cardale Jones said.

Now comes the next step: Waking up and dreaming all over again.

Monday night marked not only the culmination of the Buckeyes' eighth national title season but the potential launch of an extraordinary new era.

A team once thought to be a year away from Big Ten title contention -- let alone thumping top-seeded Alabama and No. 2 Oregon in consecutive playoff games -- could be better in 2015. Ohio State will begin next season the same way it ended this one, with a wave of national publications and web sites almost unanimously placing the Buckeyes atop their way-too-early rankings. Multiple sports books installed Ohio State as a 6-1 favorite to win the 2015 title, followed by TCU, Alabama, Auburn and Oregon.

Ohio State returns eight starters on both offense and defense and could begin the season with two Heisman Trophy candidates: Ezekiel Elliott -- who rushed for 696 yards the past three games -- and the winner of the quarterback derby.

Meyer continues to say he believes Jones, J.T. Barrett, and Braxton Miller all will return, which, if true, would create an unprecedented logjam of three quarterbacks with big-game credentials. Barrett is all but certain to return, Jones is eligible to declare for the NFL draft but said Tuesday he's "not ready for that level yet," and Miller has repeatedly declined to address his future. …

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