Nike unveils the Oregon and Ohio State jerseys that will be worn in the first ever college football playoff national championship game. Twitter / @pacrepublicPDX

The inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship game kicks off tonight and after two semifinal games last week, there is no doubt anymore in anyone’s minds that the two best teams in college football will be on opposite sidelines at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

On one side will be the Ohio State Buckeyes, a team that in the beginning of the season nobody thought would be playing for the national championship. Ohio State (13-1) finished #4 in the polls at the end of the regular season and only got to that spot after an 8-0-conference record and a 59-0 thumping over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship.

They are led by head coach Urban Meyer who is playing for his third national championship in what is arguably his best coaching job ever. In order to hoist the hardware tonight, he will have to put his hopes in the hands of third string quarterback Cardale Jones. Jones took over as quarterback for the Buckeyes after season-ending injuries to Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett. Jones is only a sophomore, but showed experience beyond his years in his only two starts of his college career. He is a dual threat quarterback who like Cam Newton or Ben Roethlisberger, is nearly impossible to take down.

Historically, Ohio State has been absolutely dominant against Oregon. The Buckeyes have seven national championships in school history and are 8-0 in head-to-head matchups against Oregon. The last time these two teams met was in 2010 when the heavily favorite Ducks were upset by Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.

Ohio State vs. Oregon
Ohio State Buckeyes running back Brandon Saine (L) gets past Oregon Ducks linebacker Kenny Rowe during a first quarter 46 yard pass and run play at the 96th Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena, California, January 1, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Oregon Ducks have never won a national championship, and never beaten Ohio State. They also never had a Heisman trophy winner in their school history, and now they have one in Marcus Mariota. Mariota is the real deal and runs the high-octane, no-huddle offense of the Ducks to perfection. He torched the defending champions, Florida State and their Heisman trophy winner Jameis Winston in the Rose Bowl 59-20 and if Mariota is able to get the Oregon offense rolling, watch out Ohio State, it could get ugly.

Oregon’s offensive attack is one of the best in the country and at any time can explode for a big play. They are second in all of college football in offense and scoring offense. Stopping them will be an impossible task for the Buckeyes, but if the Ohio State defense can hold them below 30 points, they will have a good chance to win this game.

Much has been made about the injuries to Ohio State at the quarterback position, but Oregon is actually the one who comes into the final game of the season with the most injured players. The Ducks will be without 15 starters tonight who have missed a combined 67 games due to injury over the course of the season. Notable injuries including star corner back Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, wide receivers Devon Allen, Bralon Addison and Darren Carrington who was suspended last week for testing positive for marijuana.

Despite the injuries, the Ducks are the favorites to lift the trophy tonight and that’s fine with the Buckeyes. Ohio State is 5-0 in their last five games as underdogs. Oregon is a seven point favorite to beat Ohio State and have more than enough fire power to cover the spread if the Buckeyes defense gets worn down over the course of the game by the Ducks fast pace.

Last week, Ohio State was a 7.5-point underdog against Alabama and even the Ducks fans who chanted “We want Bama!” at the end of the Rose Bowl never thought Ohio State would cover, let alone win the game outright 42-35. The Buckeyes are 11-3 against the Pac-12 in their last 14 games, and Oregon is 4-0 in their last four bowl games. Something will have to give tonight and we believe it’s the Buckeyes who will bend, but not break.

Oregon has absolutely crushed almost every opponent they have played this year. With an average of nearly 50 points per game against only 17.5 points against, they could win big on Monday night in Dallas. However, Ohio State is big and strong enough to stop the Ducks more so than any other team has done this year. The Buckeyes proved against Alabama that they can hang with any team in the country and will have no fear of the Oregon offensive attack. The Ducks will miss top receiver Carrington who had 165 yards and two touchdowns in the Rose Bowl. We agree that the game will be a high scoring affair and think Ohio State will keep it close.

Prediction: 42-37 Oregon Ducks

The game will kick off at 8:30 PM EST at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. It will air live on ESPN, with additional coverage on ESPN2. If you can’t be near a television, you can watch the game live from your phone, tablet or computer on WatchESPN here.

Betting Odds Courtesy of Bovada.lv

Ohio State: +7 / +165 Moneyline
Oregon: -7 / -190 Moneyline
Over/Under: 74

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.