The first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship Game is finally here and we at Yahoo Sports think we know what the outcome will be – after all, we’ve watched both of these teams all season. Here’s a look at how Yahoo’s college football writers Pat Forde, Graham Watson, Nick Bromberg and Sam Cooper see the championship game shaking out.
I picked Ohio State to lose to Michigan State. I picked Ohio State to lose to Wisconsin. I picked Ohio State to lose to Alabama. So by now I've seen the light and am ready to jump on the Buckeyes bandwagon, right? No. I'm down with the Ducks. They were my pick on Selection Sunday and all the more now, after watching them trample Florida State. Oregon won't be able to count on getting five turnovers this game -- but neither will Ohio State be able to count on a repeat of the three it got from Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. The Ducks have the fewest turnovers in the nation (10), including just three interceptions -- which is the total Blake Sims threw to the Buckeyes. Urban Meyer has made Ohio State faster -- but it still isn't as fast as what Oregon will put on display Monday. Oregon 41, Ohio State 31.
Both Ohio State and Oregon have played well down the stretch of the season, which makes this an incredibly tough pick. Ohio State is charmed. It’s won some close games and it’s done so with its backup and third-string quarterbacks. That is a major accomplishment. Oregon has worked through injuries to the offensive line and injuries to key skill players and yet has somehow persevered to get to this point. However, when you look at these two teams, the competition they’ve faced and who’s more ready to face the other’s offense and defense, I have to lean toward Oregon. The Ducks have so many weapons, but their most important weapon is quarterback Marcus Mariota. He’s so smart and so dynamic and can hurt teams in so many ways that it’s tough to go against him. The Ducks jump out to a big lead and carry this one the entire way. Oregon 45, Ohio State 31.
Oregon is going to be just fine without Darren Carrington. The Oregon offense has a newfound confidence in RB Thomas Tyner, making he and Royce Freeman a formidable rushing duo to compliment Marcus Mariota. Plus, Mariota still has Byron Marshall, Charles Nelson and Dwayne Stanford to throw to. Ohio State will get yards and put up points on Oregon's defense, but the Ducks' offense won't miss a beat. A Heisman winner is getting the national title for the second-straight year. Oregon 41, Ohio State 35
These teams are evenly-matched on both sides of the ball. We know all about the offenses, but both defenses are underrated and boast disruptive defensive lines. Ohio State has shown remarkable resiliency over the course of the season, but I'm not sure Cardale Jones and the Buckeyes will be able to keep up with Marcus Mariota and the Ducks' offense over the course of 60 minutes. Oregon will pull away late to win its first national title. Oregon 48, Ohio State 38.
For more Oregon news, visit DuckSportsAuthority.com.
For more Ohio State news, visit BuckeyeGrove.com.