Ohio State claims the first College Football Playoff championship

Following a hot-knife-through-butter opening touchdown drive for the Oregon Ducks in last night’s national championship game, the Ohio State Buckeyes took over the game and never relinquished control. OSU running back Ezekiel Elliott averaged 6.8 yards per carry, and it felt like more than that in the second half, when Ohio State called the same counter run play seemingly on every down and repeatedly executed it successfully. Elliott was so hungry for more yards that he tried to eat confetti after the game.

After that initial Oregon drive, the Buckeye defense, lead by coordinator and former OSU head coach Luke Fickell, found the answer, though, and Oregon’s bucket of tricks soon ran dry. Even in the second half, when Oregon’s defense produced a couple of turnovers, Marcus Mariota and the offense couldn’t make any progress.

Oregon accumulated its twenty points with two touchdowns, that opening-drive score and a one-play, seventy-yard TD pass early in the third quarter, and two field goals. Those two field goals, along with a white-flag punt with eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter, felt uncharacteristic of a school that, in recent years, lead the charge of pedal-to-the-metal offense.

In the end, Ohio State ended up knocking off Oregon by nearly as wide a margin– 42-20– as the one by which Oregon defeated Florida State in the semifinal round.   Continue reading

ALDLAND takes you live to Ohio State-Michigan

I suggest watching this preview of tomorrow’s game between Michigan and Ohio State on mute.

Brendan and I will be at this one tomorrow, where we’ll attempt to go 2/3 on planned Ann Arbor tailgate rendezvous this season. This is an important game for both teams. Michigan has the chance to move to a completely improbable 10-2 record and beat Ohio State for the first time since 2003. For the Buckeyes, this has been a lost season in many ways, but a win over the Wolverines on the road would validate everything for them. This is particularly true, I get the feeling, for head coach Luke Fickell, who almost certainly is done after one season on the job. Some already are reporting that OSU has a deal with Urban Meyer that will make him the next head coach sometime after this Saturday’s game.

Michigan fans like to taunt Michigan State fans by making a point of regarding Ohio State, rather than the in-state Spartans, as their main rival, saying that rivalries actually have to be competitive. Michigan hasn’t done much winning against either school in the last few  years, and first-year coach Brady Hoke already continued that trend against MSU this season. I’ll be eager to see how he fares against OSU tomorrow.