After must anticipation and discussion about the potential match-ups, it’s all set. The first National Championship under the College Football Playoff system will feature the Oregon Ducks against the Ohio State Buckeyes.
They got here in different ways: Oregon spent basically most of the season near the top of the rankings, while Ohio State had to prove themselves after losing Braxton Miller before the season began. Oregon blew out the reigning National Champion Florida State Seminoles 59-20 in the Rose Bowl while Ohio State won a back-and-forth battle against Alabama 42-35 in the Sugar Bowl. In what’s likely to be a high scoring affair, Oregon (43 points scored per game) and Ohio State (42 points scored per game) have a date in Dallas on January 12th.
Marcus Mariota leads Oregon into the National Championship game, looking to become the 6th quarterback since 1990 to win the Heisman Trophy and National Championship in the same season (Charlle Ward 1993, Danny Wuerffel 1996, Matt Leinart 2004, Cam Newton 2010, Jameis Winston 2013). Over that same span, Heisman winning quarterbacks are 9-8 in all bowl games and 6-6 in National Championship games. In what has already been an incredible season for Mariota and the Ducks, a win over Ohio State would give Oregon it’s first ever National Championship.
On the Buckeye’s side, head coach Urban Meyer looks to win his third National Championship overall, his first at Ohio State (2006 and 2008 at Florida). He coached Ohio State to a perfect 12-0 in 2012, but the team was not eligible to play in a bowl game that season due to sanctions. In 2013, they looked to be on their way to a National Championship game sitting at 12-0 headed into the Big Ten Championship game, but were upset by Michigan State. This season, although hampered by the loss of TWO top 10 Heisman finishing quarterbacks to injury this year (Braxton Miller finished 9th in 2013 voting, missed this entire season; JT Barrett finished 5th in 2014 voting, injured against Michigan), Ohio State finally finds themselves in the National Championship game.
It doesn’t get any bigger than this.