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Looking back on the college football championship - The Pitt News

The Pitt News

Looking back on the college football championship

By Alex Wise / Staff Writer

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The experts picked Oregon to win.

But, by beinga little noncommittal, they left themselves just enough room for error.

“It’s tough for me to say this, and it’ll be close,” they said. One regretful skipping of “The Bachelor” and four quarters of football later, the Ohio State Buckeyes are national champions after beating the Oregon Ducks 42-20.

It’s just too risky to think that a former third-string quarterback with next to no experience could outlast a proven Heisman winner, as if the national title game were a one-on-one street fight in a WWE Smackdown ring. Oregon’s uncontainable speed and pace of play would ultimately win out over Ohio State’s bruising defensive line.

Buckeye running back Ezekiel Elliott finished with 246 yards and four touchdowns on 36 carries, rightfully earning game MVP honors. Though Heisman winner Marcus Mariota threw for more than 300 yards and no interceptions, the dropsies plagued his receivers, with multiple missed catches coming in key third down moments.

The first three quarters of the National Championship Game presented by AT&T — make sure you know it was presented by AT&T because ESPN hammered it into viewers’ heads like chastity at a convent — looked like a game for the ages. Elliott moved the ball on the ground at will. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota moved the ball through the air at will — at least, when his receivers decided to catch the ball.

But as close as the first 44 minutes and 55 seconds of the title game were, Elliott’s touchdown with no time remaining in the third put the Buckeyes up 28-20 and proved to be the proverbial nail in the coffin for Oregon, whose offense stalled in the game’s final 15 minutes. Elliott would punch in two fourth quarter scores to make sure there was no chance of his team pulling a Pitt (otherwise known as “Pitting”) on the biggest stage imaginable. And in the end it was Buckeye head coach Urban Meyer, not Oregon’s Mark Helfrich, who players doused with Gatorade.

Sadly, though, we won’t remember much of this.

We’ll remember the things that had no outcome on the game whatsoever, like the Oregon Duck mascot tearing onto the field, arms pumping, like he was being chased by Freddy Krueger in a golf cart. We’ll remember the camera incessantly landing on LeBron James wearing a No. 23 Ohio State jersey on the sideline, because it’s ESPN, and that had to happen. We’ll remember Jimmy Kimmel’s halftime “best sign” contest, in which the winner was rewarded with an oddly phallic golden trophy.

We’ll remember Oregon’s invisible defender, who forced Jameis Winston to fumble backward in the playoff’s first round, then caused a nearly identical play for Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones and the subsequent social media explosion. We’ll remember the Oregon ball boy with the 2011 Wiz Khalifa-esque afro, which seemed to pop up on screen just above ESPN’s bottom line on every play.

We’ll also never forget the Oregon cheerleaders. Never.

But for me the biggest takeaway is that, here at the University of Pittsburgh, we’re all champions — that is, according to my favorite people at myteamisbetterthanyourteam.com. Since the Panthers beat Virginia Tech, the team responsible for Ohio State’s only loss, it’s logical to believe that Pitt is a better football team than Ohio State. We should be declared national champions as well — or co-champs, at the least.

Congratulations, everyone. We’re all winners (This is the part where you laugh).

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Looking back on the college football championship