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Talking Heads Lack Objectivity In Predictions

By John Ventola

Jerry’s World will be hosting the first College Football Playoff championship game tonight and professional results from yesterday point to the owner not being in a festive, entertaining mood.

Oregon and Ohio State have worked their way into the first CFP title game with scintillating offensive productions in their last two performances, winning their conference championship games and semi-final playoff games by decisive margins. It

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Teams Averaging Over 50 Points In Last Two Games

has been interesting to watch media types show their unchecked biased opinions as they have repeatedly thrown objectivity out of the window like a badly overthrown go route. Some have shown fairness in their evaluations of the Ducks and Buckeyes, but most have shown a tendency to blatantly show a preference for a certain conference because they either worked or played for teams from a particular region.

Ohio State, ranked No. 13 as late as the first week in November, used some late season politicking (Kirk Herbstreit, a former Buckeye quarterback, was embarrassing) to overcome an embarrassing early season defeat at home to 7-6 Virginia Tech, and a tight overtime win over mediocre Penn State on the road. It is one of the quickest jumps (before BCS, and after BCS) in the history of college football. Things had to work out for the Buckeyes, and they did produce two pulsating, solid wins in the Big Ten title game (59-0 over Wisconsin) and against SEC champion Alabama (42-35). However, if an entire body of work was the measuring stick, TCU should have been in the final four playoff teams. Herbstreit and the Midwest media types made quite an offensive drive to turn around the 12-member CFP selection committee vote in the final two tallies.

Oregon lost early to an improved Arizona, but came back to defeat the Wildcats convincingly (51-13) in the Pac-12 championship game. It then put the only blemish (59-20) on former Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston’s two-year college career, and made him look pretty ordinary in the process. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota could continue a recent fad of current year Heisman Trophy winners also wining national titles (Matt Leinart, USC, 2004; Mark Ingram, Alabama, 2009; Cam Newton, Auburn, 2010; Winston, Florida State, 2013).

The Southeastern Conference (SEC) came within thirteen seconds of winning its eighth straight national championship last year. Florida State and Winston scored late to end that skein. Even though Alabama entered the CFP playoff No. 1, one could almost get the overwhelming feeling that there was a national movement going on to prevent

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SEC Had Seven Year Title Run Broken Last Year

another SEC title. Surely, Ohio State exploited the Tide’s weaker than usual pass defense to get rid of Alabama, but almost eight championships in a row should be proof enough that the league’s superiority was not a flash-in-the-pan thing.

Both teams will not be at full speed tonight. Writing this just four hours before game time, it will be interesting to watch and see if Oregon can overcome the suspension of a couple of players and if Ohio State’s “third string” quarterback Cardale Jones can run and throw the Buckeyes to the championship. OSU has averaged over fifty points a game in the two victories he has started since QB J. T. Barrett broke his ankle against Michigan. Urban Meyer has brought a Southern flair to Columbus and the Buckeyes are capable of projecting their will on an opponent with aggressiveness, speed, and execution.

The quarterback battle between Mariota and Jones should be the deciding factor in the game and I anticipate that Mariota’s steadiness and ability to avoid turnovers will result in victory for the Ducks. Forty touchdown passes and three interceptions! Wow! Jones has not been rattled in either of his starts. I am anxious to see his reactions to the overall Oregon speed and stronger defensive back coverage.

I was at AT & T Stadium in 2011 when Oregon and LSU faced each other. It was speed versus speed, and LSU turned the tables on the Ducks (Honey Badger Tyrone Mathieu picked up fumbled punt return for TD, etc.). Ducks have to make sure they are quick and able to use their speed, but not too quick where it causes careless mistakes. That, and keeping Buckeye running back Ezekiel Elliott under wraps, will play crucial parts in the outcome.

The game should be a big Texas bash. Just have to wonder if Jerry Jones will be carefully watching every reception and comparing it to what happened in Ice Bowl II yesterday in Green Bay.

O, O should beat OSU by four.

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