After 15 hard-fought weeks, the day that many college football fans had been waiting for has finally arrived. The college football selection committee announced the final four teams that will participate in the inaugural college football playoffs. Oregon was presented as the No. 2 team in the country, and the Ducks are set to take on the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles, who are the defending national champions, on January 1 in Pasadena, California, in the Rose Bowl. Alabama was ranked as the No. 1 team and the Crimson Tide will face the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes on New Year’s day, as well, in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana.
While the selection process wasn’t easy, one thing was certain: Oregon. The Ducks displayed a dominating performance on Friday night as they captured their second Pac-12 title in the last four seasons, and if anyone in the country had any doubts about Oregon, the dismantling of the Arizona Wildcats was just what the Ducks needed.
It’s been four long years since the Ducks played in the National Championship game against Auburn, and even though Oregon hasn’t finished the regular season on a high note the last few years, this current team has a different feel to it. They’ve been through it all; they’ve tasted defeat; they’ve tasted success, and they’ve come together to pursue the ultimate prize in college football. Of course, there will always be pessimists, especially when it comes to the possibility of a Pac-12 team beating an SEC or an ACC team, but the Ducks are real, and they’re ready to show the country that they’re not just about flashy uniforms and high-scoring barrages.
Expect Marcus Mariota, the Ducks’ Heisman hopeful, to lead the way like he’s done so many other times. Expect Mark Helfrich, who has coached the Ducks to a 23-3 record in his first two seasons as head coach, to continue pressing the right buttons, and expect the Ducks to cherish this moment every step of the way.
It’s been a memorable season so far, but Oregon isn’t done yet. Maybe the Ducks will go back to the National Championship Game this season, and maybe they will call themselves “National Champions.” Imagine that, Duck fans!
Top Photo by Kevin Cline