Oregon and Ohio State face off in the first ever College Football Playoff final Monday, vying to win the first national title of a new era in college football. The two teams are scheduled to kick off at 8:30 p.m. ET in Arlington, Texas on ESPN.
Ohio State is in a familiar position as the underdog in this College Football Playoff, bringing down top-seeded Alabama 42-35 in the semifinal round. They also went 11-1 in the regular season, answering questions from an early season loss (to Virginia Tech) with a strong result in their conference championship game (59-0 over Wisconsin). The Buckeyes do not have a Heisman winner at quarterback, but they did lose two contenders (Braxton Miller and JT Barrett) to injury this season. That leaves third-stringer Cardale Jones as the Buckeyes' starter, but he's performed very well against the Badgers and Tide.
Oregon blew out Florida State 59-20 in the semifinal round to get here, and the second-seeded Ducks enter the game as 7-point favorites. Oregon lost just one game in the regular season, a 31-24 defeat to Arizona, but answered any lingering questions with a 51-13 blowout victory over the Wildcats in a Pac-12 Championship Game rematch. The Ducks' most impressive regular season victories came against Michigan State, UCLA and Utah, and they have the Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback in Marcus Mariota.