Terry’s Final Thoughts Heading into the National Championship Game

Listed below are some thoughts/observations for tonight’s National Championship Game. I realize that it’s terse by my standards, but there are so many exciting new things going on in my life that I don’t have as much time as I would like to devote to writing.

However, I will always weigh in when something crosses my mind.

Here’s what I have to say about tonight’s title game:

  • This will be a much better game than any of the mythical National Championship clashes we’ve seen in the past. With only a 12 day layoff between contests, both teams will come out firing on all cylinders. That’s a sharp contrast from postseason games in the past where some squads would come out rusty as a result of a month-long layoff.

  • Oregon will need to stop the run in order to win this game. Virginia Tech — the only team that beat Ohio State this year — did so because it took away the Buckeye ground game (108 yards, 2.8 ypc).

  • That’s going to be a tall task. After all, OSU ran for 281 yards (6.7) per carry against Alabama, which ranked 4th nationally against the run and allowed just 5 rushing TD’s all season.

  • On the other hand, it’s worth noting that the Duck run defense turned in two of its best performances of the season against Utah and Arizona, which both use a similar version of Ohio State’s spread attack.

  • It’s imperative that the Buckeyes play solid red zone defense to get a “W”. Even in UO’s lone loss this season, it recorded 446 yards of total offense and had no trouble moving the sticks during the game (except for the third quarter).

  • The numbers suggest that Ohio State is in trouble in this department. The Buckeyes rank 87th nationally in red zone defense (85.34% red zone trips result in a score), while Oregon scores on 86.84% of its red zone trips.

  • However, the Buckeyes did limit Alabama to just 2-of-13 on third down conversions.

  • Usually when teams are evenly matched like these two are, people will say that whoever wins the turnover battle will win the contest. That’s not the case in this one. Sure, Oregon hasn’t had a negative turnover ratio all season, but Ohio State is 4-0 in games when it had more giveaways than takeaways — including a -2 ratio against Michigan State.

  • I think Ohio State wins in what will go down as one of the greatest games in college football history. While the offenses will dominate the contest, I expect the Buckeye defense — based on the offseason additions of Chris Ash and Larry Johnson — to come up with enough stops to earn the victory.

Prediction: Ohio State 38, Oregon 35