For the record, I HATE the Ducks. Like famed wide receiver Rod Tidwell, I am a Sun Devil. I bleed maroon and gold and look down on anyone wearing that awful chartreuse/silver/green combo Oregon has going on. But this game, the first ever College Football National Championship Game, is not about my personal feelings on the two teams. It’s about two teams, at the top of their games, going head to head to determine which team is better. Spoiler alert: it’s the Ducks.
While the two teams have the same record, the #2 Ducks are ranked higher – and for good reason. They play in one of, if not THE best overall conference in NCAA football (#conferenceofchampions). The PAC12 is full of great teams and every game can easily go either way, regardless of ranking, which is why it’s rare for any teams in the conference to have an undefeated season. In 2013, #Oregon lost to an unranked Arizona team by 26 points. One week later, that same Arizona team lost to #13 Arizona State by 37 points (#nopityforthekitty).
This year, Oregon again lost to an unranked Arizona in the regular season by a touchdown, only to turn around and beat them in the Pac12 Championship by 38 points. The “Who Beat Who” for the PAC12 is a circle because of how strong the conference as a whole is (so if ESPN / really everyone one could start showing some respect, that would be great).
Let’s take a more in depth look at their schedules this year. The Ducks and Buckeyes shared one opponent this season – Michigan State (ranked #7 when facing Oregon and #8 when facing Ohio State). Oregon easily won, by 19 points, whereas Ohio State only won by 12 (in an in-conference rivalry situation).
In the opening 3 games, traditionally meant to be easy wins for the big schools, Oregon won in decisive fashion against South Dakota, #7 Michigan State (because they were confident enough to schedule a ranked non-conference opponent early on), and Wyoming. While Ohio State beat Navy (by 17) and steamrolled over Kent State, they lost to an unranked Virginia Tech team AT HOME during week 2.
New Year’s Day was delightful for me. I wasn’t hungover because I went to bed at 10pm like an old woman, so I woke up and made my way to my parents’ house for some mimosas (heavy on the bubbly until you’re just drinking straight Prosecco) and puppy cuddles before we got ready for football.
The first big game, as we all know, was the Rose Bowl. #2 Oregon and their 2014 Heisman winning quarterback Marcus “I’m hot and respect women” Mariota vs. #3 Florida State and their 2013 Heisman winning quarterback Jameis “I don’t understand the word ‘no’ – oh hey let me grab those crab legs” Winston. SIDE NOTE: Marcus Mariota is actually incredibly attractive and almost makes me not hate the Oregon color scheme, lady boners for sure with this guy. ALSO he’s incredibly humble but in like a he knows he’s great way, but while still acknowledging that he wouldn’t be where he is today without his coaches and receivers and o-line and mom and his future wife rbdubs.
Anyways, as we all know, Jameis self-destructed, fun gifs happened, and Marcus led his offense to a 39-point victory and another PAC12 Rose Bowl title.
#4 Ohio State, while managing to beat #1 Alabama, only did so by a touchdown. Confession: I was drunk at this point and my mom and I were doing our 4,000 piece map of the world puzzle that takes up the entire puzzle table. I didn’t watch the game BUT I now know what the flag of Burundi looks like (also that there’s a country named Burundi).
The best thing to come out of the Sugar Bowl, however, was the classic Urban Meyer reaction to the bit of information that Oregon had just won by almost 40 points. As a connoisseur of “oh fuck” moments (I will be ranking the best from the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy), this one is excellent. Even the OSU coach knows they’re screwed.
Since my boys in Maroon and Gold didn’t play either of these teams this season (thank God, the end of our season was terrible enough as it was – except for that time we beat Duke, that was great), I really don’t know much about their playing styles. I could recite stats at you and show you numbers until your head spins, but this whole thing really comes down to one thing: which team is the better team. After all, to be a winning team, you don’t need the best players (although having my boo doesn’t hurt), you need the right ones. Oregon is a cohesive team on both sides of the ball, that knows how to work together to ensure they’re going to be walking off the field with the first ever NCAA National Championship.