College Football has drastically changed over the past year. One of those changes have been the structure to the BCS Championship Game. This year unlike past years there were two games to decide the two sides in the biggest game of the year. The Sugar Bowl consisted of #1 Alabama and #4 Ohio State, the Rose Bowl consisted of #2 Oregon and #3 Florida State. The winners were Ohio State and Oregon who will face off on the night of January 12th to see who will be crowned victor of College Football. For the first time since 2010, the Oregon Ducks have a shot at the title, and are favored to win.
Oregon is led by its Heisman winning QB Marcus Mariota. Mariota has had an unbelievable season accumulating over 4,100 passing yards and 40 TDs. Oregon is also in its just second year under head coach Mark Helfrich, who has led them to a 13-1 season, with their only loss coming in a stunner to conference rival Arizona. The Ducks had not played a team with a great defense until last week when they matched up against the Florida State Seminoles. In that game, they pounded the Seminoles for 59 points and only let up 20. That is showing something good if you can do that to a team that hadn’t lost in 2 full seasons. The problem for the Ducks isn’t their offense, it is their defense. They are ranked 77th in the country on defense allowing the other team about 406 yards per game, but they are ranked 27th in the country for scoring defense allowing about 22 points per game. The Ducks have improved greatly over the past four games only letting up at most 20 points to the other team. The biggest problem on the Oregon defense is their pass defense, they are ranked 111th in pass defense giving up about 266 passing yards per game. They weren’t able to stop Jameis Winston in the air only allowing him to throw for 348, but only 1 TD. This matchup is very favorable for the Ohio State QB Cardale Jones due to his love of passing. The Ducks have let up 44 passing plays of 20-yards or more to their opponent, tying them for 91st in the nation in that category. The Buckeyes are 28th in the country with 51 passes of 20 yards or more, and this creates a problem for the Oregon defense. We all know that Oregon will score a ton of points, they haven’t scored less than 38 points in games they have won and their average of points per game is 49. If the Oregon defense can hold up and stop the deep pass they will win this game.
On the other side of the spectrum is the Ohio State Buckeyes, who are 13-1 with their only loss coming to Virginia Tech 35-21 in the second week of the season. The Buckeyes are looking for their first BCS Championship since 2002 when they upset Miami 31-24, and once again they were the underdogs this year as well. They were the 9 point underdog in their game against Alabama, but ended up winning outright by a whole TD. Oregon has one of the best offenses in the country and scores a lot of points every single game, and almost no one has been able to stop them. If the Buckeyes want to win, they are going to have to win with the deep ball. As stated earlier Oregon is very weak in that spot allowing 44 passing plays of 20 yards or more. Oregon will also be missing their best defensive back Ifo Ekpre-Olomu who is out with an injured knee. Ohio State’s QB Cardale Jones loves to pass the ball, especially down the field. Jones is going to have to capitalize on the Ducks’ defensive back’s mistakes and score a lot of points. If Ohio State wants to one this one they are going to have to throw the ball down the field successfully, and WR Devin Smith is going to have to step up, be a leader and make things happen.
Both teams are hungry for the win, and both are so close. The matchup to watch in this game will be the Ohio State offense against the Oregon defense. Whichever team can win that matchup and works the hardest and plays their heart out will win the game. I think Ohio State wants it more, and just like Alabama, Oregon is going to underestimate Ohio State. Ohio State is going to upset the favorite Oregon just like they did to Miami in 2002 in another shoutout. Ohio State 45, Oregon 43. Who do you think will win this battle? We will find out January 12th!