ESPN's Bottom Line - Version 2.0

Monday, January 12, 2015

College Football National Championship 2014

These Ducks sure can fly!  Sorry...
It's finally here.  College Football's Championship game kicks off tonight at 8:30 Eastern after the first ever Division 1 Playoff games on New Year's Day.  Those games were spectacular.  As you can see from the picture, Oregon had an easy time with overrated AAC ACC Champ Florida State.  While Ohio State, who many thought was undeserving of the 4th Playoff spot, soundly defeated the odds on favorite to win the whole thing in Alabama.

Sidebar - It must be awful playing for Alabama.  Every season is Championship or bust and while they have won three in eight years since Saban has been there, the pressure to win it all must crush the joy out of every victory.  I keep hearing about NFL Head Coaches retiring after they realize that winning games is simply checking a box, while losing a game is cause for sleepless nights and I get the sense that it's the same for everyone at Alabama.  YAY!  Every single one of those players began their careers on the field because they derived some joy out of simply playing the sport and Alabama with Nick Saban will not stand for fun when they could be focused on winning games.  No thanks.

Tonight we'll see the Ducks try to avenge the NFL career of Joey Harrington by winning a National Championship.  Some say that's crazy but you can see it in their eyes.  Either way, they have a tremendous team that has for the most part absolutely demolished the teams they've played this year.  Granted they played in the Pac12 which presented us with the most mish-mosh assortment of "good" football teams this season.  By good I mean teams in a power 5 conference with generally winning records.  This is not the highest standard but College Football deprives us of any serious inter conference play by which to properly evaluate relative levels of competence.  That's for another day though.

Ohio State will be looking for validation as a National level program again after calls of corruption following them at pretty much every step of the way during pretty much every season.  This season is no different yet it is remarkable seeing their success despite the turnover at QB.  They approach this game with their 3rd String QB taking the helm who is maybe the most unabashedly anti-"student"-athlete we've seen on such a national stage.  He however, is direct and forthright with his intention to succeed in football and definitely not the classroom while at Ohio State, so I guess there is something to be said for that.  Hate the game, not the player?

Quarterbacks don't slide, they FLY!
Ohio State has a very solid defensive line with excellent Linebackers who should be quick to fill some of the massive holes created by Oregon's system.  If the Buckeyes can get their running game going and eat up the clock thus eliminating the Ducks total offensive opportunities I think they will win this game.  Oregon isn't great against the run and I think their passing defensive numbers are all skewed because so often trail and have to throw against them that they rack up useless yards, which makes their rush defense numbers stand out as a sign of precaution even more.  

At the end of the day if you are not a fan of either team, this game presents an opportunity to watch the a remarkably successful run and culmination of the first College Football Playoff.  Both teams feature loads of talent on both sides of the ball, have the ability to play exciting aggressive turnover-focused defense, and have some of the most potent offensive attacks in the game which all adds up to a win for we the fans of College Football.  

Ultimately Ohio wins the day and Urban Meyer can glibly smile at Nick Saban in the way that he does until the two of them spontaneously combust due to the off the charts levels of unnecessary intensity.  OSU 48 - Oregon 46.  It's a game for the ages.

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