1. Texas is SuperAmerica, or at least America Plus. For instance, JerryWorld's got a lot of amenities. There is a car display on the third tier of one end zone sponsored by Ford, a display case for Mustangs, Fiestas, Fusions, and Focuses (Foci?) stacked in the rafters like a gigantic child's playthings. There's a pond with a fountain in the middle of it; an F-150 sits at the water's edge, silently contemplating its own mortality. It begs for a hug, or at least an understanding pat on the fender.
2. Moët & Chandon champagne is available at the concession stand. It pairs surprisingly well with a barbecue sandwich.
3. JerryWorld also has the infamous JerryTron, a TV so stonking big it borders on being its own reality. Watching the game, even the first College Football Playoff National Championship, is an effort. Like, a deliberate effort, in which you have to remember to look down at the people on the field playing the actual game, and not at the SCREAMING DIGITAL GOD'S EYE BECKONING ALL IN ITS PRESENCE TO BOW, BOW BEFORE THE JERRYTRON. Cardale Jones, Ohio State's roaming Borg-cube of a quarterback, appears to be almost mortal from section 329. On the JerryTron, he is a jaeger seconds away from punching through the earth's crust for fun.
Kevin C. Cox, Getty
4. Things look bigger and much, much clearer on the JerryTron than they do in real life. On replay, yes, Jones' knee was down, something the entire stadium can see at once, and nod in agreement thoughtfully. Ezekiel Elliott's runs through Oregon's arm tackles looked careless on the field. On the JerryTron, Elliott's 246 yards and four touchdowns looked like he was running through the world's longest, least effective turnstile.
(GIF via ESPN.)
Marcus Mariota would take a punishing hit on the field from Joey Bosa in the fourth quarter. On the field it looked bad, but on replay -- with Bosa's whole body weight falling onto Mariota's shoulder -- the crowd winced and imagined out loud the various injuries Mariota had sustained, coming to a consensus that he had a separated shoulder and/or a broken collarbone. The JerryTron is so big it will make you believe you are a doctor, and not a very good one. Mariota missed one play, and then came back in without any wincing or fuss.
5. Objects may appear larger than they actually are on the JerryTron. After watching Ohio State smash Oregon to bits, you might be tempted to say that Ohio State doesn't have an obvious loss on the schedule for the next five years. You might really want to say that after watching this. No one would blame you. The Buckeyes defense turned a Heisman Trophy winner into a largely harmless irrelevance with nice numbers and zero danger, and the Buckeyes offense made a consistently excellent Oregon defense blow basic gap assignments it hadn't missed since 2013.
They're deep, loaded with talent, and just won a national title with their third-string quarterback. Go back and watch their offensive line if you don't believe that, because they carried Oregon's d-line around like squawling infants who don't want to go in their car seats.
6. Did I mention JerryWorld has an AT&T store in it, mezzanines with $20 sandwiches for sale, and four choke points each capable of creating some pretty nasty stampede-type conditions? And that the thing pushing out into the flow of traffic is the VIP buffet? Meaning you'd die, probably while being watched nonchalantly by some dude from the corporate office eating a plate of chicken fingers? That Jerry might have made it this way? I mean, definitely made it this way?
7. Distortion is inevitable here, not just because of the JerryTron. Ohio State made their stretch run look so good, so final, so complete, that any real estimate of how good this team was becomes impossible. A month ago, Jones was third on the depth chart, something you might have heard. After the win, he was tweeting out hello to his haters and coyly hedging on entering the NFL Draft.
All I gotta say is........ Hi Haters— Cardale Jones (@CJ12_) January 13, 2015
Everything -- the redemption of Urban Meyer after bombing out of coaching in 2010, the return of the Big Ten to prominence, the success of the Playoff -- everything's exaggerated by the supergravity of the Playoff. It did what it was supposed to do, as evidenced by ratings and the three decks and two mezzanine levels of fans (AMERRRRRRRIIIIICAAAAA) who made it to Dallas.
8. The JerryDome also had helicopter service, a service that ran out of slots by the time I tried to get one some hour and a half after the bidding opened up on Uber. "Get Chopper" appearing on your phone is a sign that life is now the long-awaited edition of the video game Mercenaries 3.
9. I do know this: the longer I went into this season, the less I knew. And that got fun real fast. It was fun watching Ohio State dare Oregon's linebackers to keep gap control. This was the season everyone switched masks. Alabama played like an old Michigan State team against the Buckeyes; Michigan State played like Baylor in order to beat, um, Baylor. Ole Miss played like three different teams; LSU was rendered in cartoon in live-action, like Roger Rabbit, something normally reserved solely for its coach. TCU went on that 300 diet and made a season-long gladiator movie. (Won't win any awards, but damn was it entertaining and spattered with blood.)
10. Seriously, TCU could just drive over from Fort Worth and play Ohio State if they want to stay another week. There's a CiCi's Pizza across the street for team meals, if they don't feel like driving all the way back to TCU after practice. Arlington gives and gives, and all you can help but do is keep taking its charity.
11. I also know that Ohio State hired the man who burnt their house down in 2006, the one who sort of started the downward spiral of the program into obsolescence in the first place, to rebuild them back into a national power. He did that, but college football remains the weirdest for being one of those sports where you say, Oh, that arsonist? Let's invite him in and hire him to redecorate our house.
P.S. It works!
12. In the Playoff's toboggan run to total ignorance, it should be enough to enjoy this. It has to be. This is college football. Every year is a house of cards built on the ability of late-stage teenagers to maintain focus for longer than six seconds at a time. I know nothing, and the Playoff erased the ability to make predictions even further.
We are all dumber for having the Playoff, and that's a brilliant thing to be in an unscripted situation. With zero knowledge, you have no choice but to pay attention every step of the way.
13. In front of me was a father and his son in Ohio State gear. The dad had the requisite scarlet Buckeye hoodie. The son had the Block O shaved into the back of his head and outlined in gray hair dye. When Ohio State scored its second TD and it became apparent that they were here to bust heads without ceasing and with no apologies, they both broke out in the Bobby Shmurda dance while Mom cut them legendary side-eye from her seat to their right.
That's enough, right? For the moment I can forget about whether any of this means anything or greatness or positions or jockeying for power, and just remember a dude doing a passable dad-Shmurda dance with his son as his team finished the long climb out of the hole and back into the sunlight.