And it all comes down to this: Oregon, Ohio State and Mathew McConaughey.

I would like to start out by saying that I originally wrote this on January 2nd, the day after the inaugural College Football Playoff between Oregon vs. Florida State and Ohio State vs. Alabama. I felt like the 1200 word article wrote itself, I recapped the night’s worth of events, how Ohio State miraculously pulled off beating the team that has been the jewel of the SEC for the past 9 years, as well as how Oregon and Heisman ‘Super Mariota’ undressed a team that hadn’t lost in over two years.

Then I decided to delete it all, every word. Why? Because I don’t need to explain how freakin’ awesome New Year’s night was for College Football, sports and maybe most of all, Mathew McConaughey.

In the wise words of this great man, hopefully we can all just look back and say, “The College Football Playoff is played on New Years Day, in back-to-back games, because we just liked it.”

Two football games, after a day’s worth of great football on ‘National Hangover Day’ was everything a College Football fan could ever ask for. Just imagine if Oregon and Florida State didn’t turn into a blowout midway through the third, and instead turned into two Heisman winners dueling against one another to the very end. Then follow that up with the OSU vs. Bama classic that left you feeling like you just played 60 minutes in the trenches of the Sugar Bowl, not to mention nearly every commercial break in the second half had McConaughey meandering around in his Lincoln.

I’m not sure I could have handled all of that.

And yes, I briefly just explained how awesome that day/night was and is going to be a day to look forward to every season, as if it wasn’t already.

So the next few words will be about how the National Championship game will be as good if not better than what we witnessed the night of the 1st of January.

The last time a National Championship Game that didn’t feature a team from the SEC, this happened:

This is the moment and the game where Vince Young and college football won me over for good. The NFL couldn’t reach this level of awesome, ever.  I pleaded my father for a Vince Young jersey for Christmas that year, I loved everything about that Texas team and College Football. Go look at those rosters between Texas and USC and you can’t tell me that those weren’t the two best teams that deserved to be there. Since? No title game has reached that magnitude, college football peaked that night in Pasadena.

And for the past nine National Championships or so (with the exception of Oregon vs. Auburn and last year’s title game) I’ve found myself on YouTube towards the end of the night, watching the entire Texas, USC game over again. Because the National Championships had failed to live up to the hype.

This year I can guarantee I won’t be watching my man from ’05 Vince Young (Sorry Vince, I still love you man) run for over 200 yards and pass for over 200 as well against ‘SC. Instead I’ll be taking in every second of Oregon and their white hot uniforms tee-off against Ohio State and their Uncle Mo’ that has carried them all year long. It’s not the Oregon vs. Alabama title ’bout I’ve so desperately wanted for just about forever, but this game will suffice and then some.

I don’t recall a year in which I felt fine with either team winning the game. Even through the decade long Evil Empire reign of the SEC where it squared off against all of the best college football had to offer (including OSU and Oregon) yet this year I can genuinely say that come Monday night, I can’t wait to be a college football fan and a fan of football in general.

Sure you can analyze how both spread offenses will make for some exciting football to watch (obviously) and how Urban Meyer vs. Mark Helfrich (Also known as simply “The guy that coaches Oregon”) will be playing a chess match all game. I get it, and I can’t wait for those things either.

But more so, be excited that we don’t have to hear about the SEC ruling college football for probably a year before they start to take over this playoff too, but enjoy it anyway.

marcus-mariota-sunset-800-jf

Enjoy that #8 for Oregon is one of the best student-athletes you will ever see on a collegiate gridiron. He was remarkably efficient his entire career at Oregon, and while he has another year of eligibility, the man A) has already graduated. B) has one more game to solidify himself among the greats in college and C) did I mention his numbers are just incredible?

  • He passed for 4,121 yards, 40 TD’s and just 3 INT’s in 2014
  • His career numbers aren’t even human: 10,463 yards, 103 TD’s and only 13 INT’s. 
  • He has a career 88.6 QBR and rushed for 2,198 yards and 29 TD’s, probably just for fun. 

So, odds are pretty good this will be his final game before he gets paid to do this. The guy didn’t get as much attention as most Heisman winners in the last few years, partly because he wasn’t a Freshman like Johnny and Jameis were, nor was he Tim Tebow. Point is I have no idea why more outside the PAC-12 weren’t all over this guy from the moment he took his first snap for Oregon. He was a machine, he plays the position so effortlessly it makes me wonder if he actually cares (This isn’t a direct quote, but Marcus Mariota significantly cares) even in the hyper-speed offense that Oregon has perfected under him, he made it that much better. So enjoy his last 60 minutes.

After reading that, your thoughts may be that I’m a Oregon Ducks fan. Correct, I love this team and have thoroughly enjoyed the way they play football for the better part of the decade now. Plus, you know, I’m a sucker for looking good on the football field too.

But in a crazy plot twist, I secretly love this Ohio State squad too. If you don’t enjoy this team for the hundreds of possibilities you can have for liking this team, you are either A) not a college football fan or B) a Michigan grad.

EVEN THEN, you can still enjoy this team come Monday night too, Michigan.

Enjoy the fact that they are playing in the National Championship game WITH THEIR THIRD STRING QUARTERBACK. Seriously ask yourself if you’ll ever see this situation happen again at this level and magnitude. I rest my case.

The sample size might be small, but Cardale Jones (12) could end up being the best of the three Ohio State Quarterback's.
The sample size might be small, but Cardale Jones (12) could end up being the best of the three Ohio State Quarterback’s.

Enjoy that this team wasn’t in the discussion of the playoff until the very last moment, then they hopped over TCU and Baylor and beat Alabama in stunning fashion, pulling off stuff like this to get them back in the game:

A Big Ten team looked faster, stronger and better than a SEC team (‘Bama no less) and looked like they flat out wanted it more, even when they were down 21-6 early on. If I had said this at the beginning of the year, the few devout folks who follow this would think I’m in over my head. I might be anyway.

Ohio State might not have one of the best college football players in the history, but what makes this team special is that they don’t care. They’ll put 11 guys out on that field on Monday and as long as they have Scarlet and Grey on, they believe they can win the ball game. And I respect that more than anything.

Ohio State vs. Oregon might not be as good as USC and Texas were almost a decade ago, but the Ducks and the Buckeyes belong to be on the field on Monday night, more so than any other team in the country, because they proved it.

And while I would like to see both teams win it for their own respective reasons, if I have to choose a winner, I select Oregon 37-35 in a thrilling shootout that will hopefully turn into an all-time classic.

Ah, college football, ya gotta love it.

-Goat

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