In big games like the one Oregon and Florida State face off in on Thursday afternoon, there is generally a favorite and an underdog. When the "underdog", according to Vegas and the CFP committee, is undefeated and the defending national champion, things get especially sticky. After a couple weeks of Internetting that featured some of the most rampant mudslinging since the 2008 Civil War, I have been bullied and pounded into submission, and can't shake the feeling that Oregon's gonna get crushed.
But then I remember.
I remember that Marcus Mariota is on my team, playing his first game as a bonafide Heisman trophy winner. The opportunity to watch two Heisman winners go head-to-head on the biggest stage is a privilege for all college football fans, and I've seen Jameis Winston make plays that few others on the planet can make. But given the choice between a great quarterback that has been good this season, and a great quarterback that has been great this season, I'm glad the latter will be in green and yellow.
I remember that Oregon has turned the ball over fewer times than any other team in the country this year, while Florida State has won in spite of giving the ball away more times than they take it. That speaks volumes to Florida State defense, and their ability to respond to adversity. But I'd still rather have a team that doesn't give it away, than a team that atones for it when they do.
I remember the Chip Kelly-era Oregon teams, and how they remind me of 2014 Florida State. Kelly's teams were notorious for spending the first half probing the other team for weaknesses and looking underwhelming, before going to warp in the third quarter and running away from teams. Here's a snapshot from Oregon's 2010 run to the championship game:
- @ Tennessee - down 13-3 in the second quarter, won 48-13 (45 unanswered points!)
- @ Arizona State - down 24-14 in the second quarter, won 42-31
- Stanford - down 21-3 after a quarter, 31-24 at half, won 52-31
- Arizona - down 19-14 at half, won 48-29