College Football Playoff National Championship Preview
The cries for the death of the BCS have been heard and college football has experienced the first season of the playoff system. The journey to Dallas, Texas began with four teams: Ohio State, Oregon, Florida State, and Alabama. After two semifinal playoff games, only two teams remain. The Oregon Ducks boatraced the Florida State Seminoles, ending their 29-game winning streak. Ohio State edged Alabama in an exciting Sugar Bowl game. Now we're here: Oregon vs. Ohio State in the first College Football Playoff National Championship.
Oregon is looking to win their first national championship, while an Ohio State win would mark their eighth national title. Oregon has also never beaten Ohio State. History is repeating itself, as Oregon defeated Ohio State in the first college basketball national championship in 1939. In the Sugar Bowl against Alabama, Ohio State scored 28 unanswered points after a shaky first half and an 85-yard touchdown run by Ezekiel Elliott with less than four minutes left to seal the Buckeyes' trip to AT&T Stadium.
The Buckeyes are also on their third-string quarterback, but that doesn't seem to phase them. Elliott has been a staple in the Buckeyes' success this season and Oregon will need to do everything they can to contain him and make third-string QB Cardale Jones pass. Whether or not Ohio State's defense will be able to hold Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota is an entirely different story.
Mariota received MVP honors in the Rose Bowl win over Florida State and has received MVP honors in every bowl game he's ever played in. Mariota's right-hand man is true freshman running back Royce Freeman. Freeman has rushed for 1,343 yards so far this season and needs 33 to break the PAC-12 record for a true freshman. Freeman also has 18 touchdowns on the season. No other team in college football scores at the pace that Oregon does and if the Ducks offense can get to the Buckeyes' defense early, that could lead to big problems.
However, both teams are pretty evenly matched and here's a really great, more in-depth preview with all the stats your college football loving heart can handle. After an awesome weekend of NFL playoff football, the icing on the cake will be the first-ever College Football Playoff Championship. Here's everything you need to know about where and how to watch the game:
If you watched the National Championship last year on ESPN, you may have noticed their "MegaCast" of the game featuring a different way to watch the game on all of ESPN's networks. Well they're bumping up the mega this year and are offering 12 different ways to watch Oregon and Ohio State. Here are your options - choose wisely.
Film Room - ESPN2
One of the most popular options from last year's megacast will be available again this year. The coverage will feature ESPN analysts Chris Spielman and Tom Luginbill with Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, new Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi, and new Nebraska coach Mike Riley. Narduzzi was the defensive coordinator at Michigan State this season and faced Ohio State and Oregon. Mike Riley is the former coach of Oregon State - Oregon's rival. With Narduzzi and Riley on the panel, it's sure to be a great way for fans who love the Xs and Os of the game. The broadcast will follow along with the game as it happens from a room equipped with multiple camera angles, coaches clicker technology, and telestration.
ESPN Voices - ESPNU
New this year, the ESPN Voices telecast will take fans into a specially-created viewing theatre with ESPN on-air personalities from outside college football as they watch and discuss the game. ESPN personalities include Jay Bilas, Aaron Boone, Julie Foudy, Barry Melrose, Mark Schlereth and Michael Wilbon.
Off the Ball - ESPNNEWS
The Off the Ball broadcast will give viewers an inside look at the way ESPN analysts Kevin Carter, Matt Millen, Jason Sehorn and Matt Stinchcomb and Super Bowl-winning wide receiver Amani Toomer study and dissect the game. They'll focus on the plays away from the ball, including in the trenches of the offensive and defensive lines, the wide receiver vs. defensive back matchups, coaching strategy and more. Bob Wischusen will host.
Sounds of the game - ESPN Classic
ESPN Classic will have video coverage with the natural sounds of the game that will be captured by 100 microphones placed throughout the stadium. One of those fans who wish they'd show the halftime performances from the marching bands? ESPN Classic will show both Ohio State and Oregon's performances.
Radio broadcast - ESPN Radio stations
ESPN’s Monday Night Football announcer Mike Tirico with top ESPN college football analyst Todd Blackledge, reporters Holly Rowe and Joe Schad, and Rules Expert Bill Lemonnier.
Home team radio - ESPN3
ESPN3, in cooperation with IMG College, will offer an “Oregon radio call” (via Oregon IMG Sports Network) and “Ohio State radio call” (via Ohio State IMG Sports Network) presentation. Each of the team’s specific coverage will feature the their home radio broadcast (Oregon’s Jerry Allen, analyst Mike Jorgensen, reporter Joey McMurray and host Chase Morgan, and Ohio State’s Paul Keels with analyst Jim Lachey and reporter Marty Bannister). The on-screen presentation will provide fans of both teams with the game feed plus isolated cameras on their home team’s head coach and marquee players.
Command center - ESPN Goal Line
Commercial free coverage of the game will feature a full-time split screen application showing the live game action, along with immediate replays of every play and isolated camera feeds of both head coaches, enhanced statistics and the ESPN Radio broadcast call. The Command Center option will sample other Megacast content during on-field media timeouts.
Spanish language call - ESPN Deportes
For our Spanish-speaking friends, ESPN Deportes has you covered with a traditional telecast of the game with Eduardo Varela and analyst Pablo Viruega providing a Spanish language call of the action. The game will also be available in Spanish on ESPN Deportes Radio.
SpiderCam - ESPN 3
Wanna know what it's like to watch an entire game from the SpiderCam that hangs above the field? Well here you go.
Taco Bell student section - ESPN 3
The ESPN3 commercial free option will feature cameras in the Taco Bell student sections (special sections created by Taco Bell that treat 500 students from each school to a VIP experience) and with the cheerleaders, bands and mascots of each team to showcase how the most fans live and die with every play.
Data center - ESPN3
The commercial-free coverage on ESPN3 will include significant on-screen graphic content ranging from analytics, curated social media reaction and more.
Around the world - ESPN International
ESPN’s game coverage will be available to the men and women serving in the United States military branches in 175 countries through the American Forces Network. Fans in 146 countries around the world will be able to view the game on ESPN International and ESPN Deportes platforms.
Social media - Facebook, Twitter
ESPN will also use its various social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter within the coverage. Potential content includes behind-the-scenes insights, statistics and information, interaction with fans, and more.
Oh - you can also watch a traditional broadcast of the game on ESPN for those old school fans who just want to watch a football game. 630 The Fan will also be live-tweeting the game over on Twitter.
So now, it's prediction time. Head over here to make your pick.