Choose your own season (cont.)
You are: Ohio State coach Urban Meyer
You did it. You started the SEC's national title streak, and on Jan. 6, you finished it. OK, so you didn't finish it on the field, but you ended it nonetheless. When your Buckeyes finished their season 13-0 and Oregon finished its season 13-0, one-loss SEC champ South Carolina got shunted to the Sugar Bowl. Sure, if Alabama had beaten South Carolina in Atlanta, either you or the Ducks -- probably you -- would have been playing in Pasadena five days earlier. But it didn't happen that way, and bless the dying BCS for that. If this had been next year, the Buckeyes and Ducks would have been staring at semifinal matchups with the Gamecocks and Crimson Tide.
The first time you coached in a BCS title game, your Florida team played Ohio State. Like Oregon against you, the Buckeyes were heavily favored. That year, you made a bulletin board of all the stories predicting an Ohio State romp against Florida. When you couldn't find enough stories predicting your team's demise, you had staffers make fake headlines and posted those on the bulletin board. The result? Your Gators came out ready to crush anything wearing scarlet and gray, and they won in a walk. You tried that again this year, because you like your time-tested motivational ploys. But this being the Twitter age, the idea that Oregon would beat Ohio State became passé a week before kickoff. By kickoff, the Ducks felt like underdogs.
The quarterback matchup of Braxton Miller and Marcus Mariota was everything fans could have hoped for. Miller showed no wear from the awards-circuit grinder that culminated with a Heisman Trophy. Meanwhile, Mariota played like a guy who wanted to outshine the player who narrowly edged him for the Heisman. Mariota ran for two touchdowns and threw for two more, while Miller ran for three and passed for one.
But with the score tied at 31 and three minutes remaining, it seemed Oregon finally had the upper hand. Mariota hit De'Anthony Thomas in the flat, and Thomas danced 51 yards to the Ohio State 26-yard line. The Ducks then lined up tight end Colt Lyerla at quarterback, and he smashed ahead for a nine-yard gain. Oregon immediately ran the same play again, but this time Buckeyes linebacker Ryan Shazier slammed into Lyerla and knocked the ball free. Cornerback Bradley Roby scooped up the fumble and returned it for a touchdown to seal the win. You celebrated in Pasadena, and everyone outside the South celebrated as the program that allowed the SEC to start its reign of national titles officially ended that reign.
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