- Ryan McGee, ESPN The Magazine, NASCAR
Ohio State has averaged 45 points per game in 2014. That's good for fifth in the nation. It also ranks 10th in rushing offense and fourth in total yards with 7,136.
Oregon is ranked second in scoring offense with 47.2 PPG, second in total yards (7,740) and third in yards per game, eating up turf at a 553-per-game clip.
So naturally, the Las Vegas sportsbooks have placed the over/under for the College Football Playoff Championship Presented by AT&T in the 75.5 range. Makes sense, right? Sure, especially during this increasingly high-flying era of college football offense.
But what is it that the coach with the mascot heads likes to say on "College GameDay?" Not so fast, my friend.
"Playing in the postseason is a totally different animal," Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer confessed. "And the experience of playing in the final game of the year is something you can't really understand until you've been there. There are adjustments you have to make, and sometimes, it takes a little while to make them, a couple of series on the field, at least."
He's talking about slow starts, first quarters and even entire first halves that have a tendency to drag offensively. It was a common problem during the national championship games of the BCS era. Time and time again, high-flying offenses plowed into the BCS championship only to end up posting much lower numbers than usual.
The very first of those title games, in 1999, featured all-star offensive rosters from Tennessee and Florida State. The final score was 23-16 with 14 punts. In 2004, LSU and Oklahoma came in averaging 35 and 45 points per game, respectively. The final score was 21-14 and won via a pick-six. Even the era’s highest scoring affair, Texas' legendary, 41-38 win over USC in ’06, was a four-hour offensive spaghetti pile that included five fumbles. And though last year’s final BCS matchup will always be remembered as a shootout, the reality is that Florida State and Auburn didn’t really start the fireworks until the fourth quarter. The Seminoles won 34-31 but trailed 21-13 at the end of three stanzas.
Will such sluggishness continue with the arrival of the College Football Playoff? We should know pretty quickly
Time and time again, high-powered offenses started slow in BCS title games. Will we see that in the playoff era?