Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Two of the highest scoring teams in FBS play meet in the first College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Oregon is second averaging 47 points per game while Ohio State is fifth at 45 ppg.
Given the fact both teams have lit up the scoreboard this season, one would assume the final score in the title game will reach epic numbers. Even the posted total is high at 75 points.
Playing into that method of thinking, it is easy to roll with the over, especially since Ohio State has gone under the number just once since its opening game against Navy and that came in the snow against Minnesota.
However, try not to get suckered into wagering on the over so quickly. Remember, only three of the Buckeyes' posted totals this season were higher than 60 points, which is over two touchdowns less than the number for this matchup.
Ohio State is averaging 43 points per game in its last five contests with the Buckeyes scoring over 42 points just once. Most folks would say the semifinal game against Alabama was a high-scoring affair but 42 and 35 comes to 77, which is only two points higher than the posted total of 75 for this game.
It is true Oregon is more explosive offensively than the Crimson Tide but not by much. The Ducks are averaging about 70 more yards per game - akin to about one touchdown drive per contest. Furthermore, the Ducks don't turn the ball over like Alabama does, which means their defense will not allow easy points for the opposition.
Oregon is No. 1 in FBS play with just 10 turnovers, two less than the next closest set of teams. Don't forget, over one quarter of the 77 points scored in the Ohio State-Alabama game were off turnovers while almost half of the 79 total points in the Oregon-Florida State contest came off turnovers.
Oregon has topped the 100-point mark in its last two games combined, while reaching the 40-point mark in nine straight contests. Still, the Ducks have been known to score far fewer points in bowl games than they have during the regular season.
During the regular season, the Ducks averaged 36, 47, 46, 50, 46 and 47 points per game, respectively, since 2009. Their bowl totals since 2009 have been 17, 19, 45, 35, 30 and 59, respectively. The one outlier from the second set is the 59 points in this year's game versus Florida State, a game Oregon scored just 18 first-half points, with five of the six second-half touchdowns coming off turnovers.
Offense is not the only area where these two teams excel. Ohio State is 26th nationally in scoring defense while Oregon is 27th. Ohio State's defense allowed just 21 points (not counting points off turnovers) to Alabama and held Wisconsin scoreless in the previous game.
Oregon has held its opponents to 20 points or less in four consecutive contests and six of the last eight. Oregon's offensive postseason woes have been well documented but the defense usually comes to play. Over the last three years, the Ducks have allowed fewer points in the bowl game than their defensive point per game average during the regular season.
This championship game certainly won't be a defensive struggle but it also won't be an offensive shootout. Look for both teams to score in the 30s meaning the final tally will be somewhere in the 60s to low 70s.
Take under 75 points (a one-star play for those keeping track).
THIS YEAR'S FINAL RECORD
This year's final regular season record was 104-87-6 (54 percent). The five- star selections finished at 10-8. The three-star plays went 22-14-2. The two- star choices wound up at 33-30 and the one-star plays finished 39-35-4.
The bowl record was hideous with just seven wins in 20 games. However, the lone five-star play (Wisconsin plus the points versus Auburn) won outright. In addition, all three headline games (Wisconsin, Penn State and Air Force) proved victorious. Overall, the headline games went 12-6 this season for a 67 percent winning percentage.
THIS WEEK'S JEFF FRANK DIRTY DOZEN
1) Oregon, 112; 2) TCU, 108.5; 3-T) Ohio State and Michigan State, 104; 5) Alabama, 103; 6) Georgia, 102.5; 7-T) Georgia Tech and Baylor, 98.5; 9-T) Arkansas and Ole Miss, 97.5; 11-T) Mississippi State and Stanford, 97
(The Dirty Dozen is not a reflection of a given team's won-loss record. It is based on power ratings used to predict spreads for the upcoming week. At the beginning of the season, all FBS teams are assigned a power number, which changes on a week-to-week basis depending on the results of the previous week.)