The 2014 college football season draws to its conclusion Monday night (8:30 pm ET) with the Championship Game of the first ever College Football Playoff from At&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. The 2nd ranked Oregon Ducks (13-1) of the PAC-12 Conference and the 4th ranked Ohio St. Buckeyes (13-1) of the Big-10 square of for all the marbles. The Ducks manhandled defending BCS National Champion and previously undefeated Florida St. 59-20 in the national semifinals at the Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes defeated previously top-ranked Alabama 42-35 in the Sugar Bowl to take the other national semifinal game on New Year’s Day.
Oregon is ranked 2nd nationally in scoring offense with an average of 47.2 points per game and 3rd among FBS teams in total offense with 552.9 yards per contest. The Ducks rank 27th nationally in points allowed with 22.3 per game and 84th in total defense 421.9 YPG allowed.
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Ohio St. is ranked 5th nationally in scoring offense with an average of 45 PPG scored and 9th among FBS teams in total offense with 509.7 YPG. The Buckeyes rank 26th nationally in points allowed with 22.1 per game and 17th in total defense 333.6 YPG allowed.
Oregon vs. Ohio St. Betting Odds:
Oregon Ducks -7
@ Ohio St. Buckeyes +7
Over 74.5 (-110)
Under 74.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Oregon vs Ohio St. Pick:
The Ducks are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 bowl games, 7-2 ATS in their last 9 non-conference games and 25-10 ATS in their last 35 games overall. The Buckeyes are 9-2-1 ATS in their last 12 games against Pac-12 teams, 7-3 ATS in their last 10 neutral site games and 33-16-2 ATS in their last 51 games against a team with a winning record. The Over is 5-1-1 in the Ducks’ last 7 games against a team with a winning record, 7-2-1 in their last 10 games against Big-10 teams and 6-2 in their last 8 non-conference games. The Over is 16-5 in the Buckeyes’ last 21 games against a team with a winning record, 4-0 in their last 4 non-conference games and 21-5 in their last 26 games overall.
The Buckeyes’ coach Urban Meyer is looking for his 3rd national title, and have reached the pinnacle of college football despite losing their top two quarterbacks in Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett to injury. Third-stringer Cardale Jones (6 TD passes, 1 INT) led them to wins over Wisconsin (59-0) in the Big-10 Championship Game, and Alabama in the semis. Running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 1,632 yards this season, and a Sugar Bowl-record 230 yards his last time out. The OSU defense is led by defensive end Joey Bosa with 13.5 sacks, strong-side linebacker Darron Lee (7.5 sacks) and cornerback Doran Grant (5 INTs).
The Ducks are led by quarterback Marcus Mariota, who was the winner of the Heisman Trophy voting going away, and who passed for 4,111 yards and 40 TDs while rushing for 731 yards and 15 TDs. The Ducks are playing in the 2nd national championship game i program history, the first a 22-19 loss to a Cam Newton-led Auburn team after the 2010 season. Running backs Royce Freeman (1,343 yards rushing, 18 TDs) and Thomas Tyner (511 yards rushing, 5 TDs), are the main options out of the backfield for Oregon. Wide receiver Darren Carrington (37 catches, 704 yards) is an emerging threat after catching 7 passes for 165 yards and 2 TDs in the Rose Bowl.
The Buckeyes have looked impressive on both sides of the ball in their last two games, they won in high-scoring games against Wisconsin and Alabama, but do they have enough firepower to win in a shootout against the 2nd highest scoring offense in the country with their third-string QB taking the snaps? Oregon’s offense has been a juggernaut late in the season against strong competition averaging 50.4 PPG over their last 5 games. Their common opponent is Michigan St., an excellent team that the Ducks put up 46 points on and the Buckeyes put up 49 points on. Both games were shootouts ( a 46-27 Oregon win and a 49-37 OSU win), and the trends here strongly point toward the Over for both teams. The two defenses are both vulnerable in the secondary, so it is difficult to see either team stopping the other enough to keep both from scoring in the high 30’s at least. The call here is to take the OVER in what should be a very entertaining game.