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National championship X-factors
2:59 | College Football
National championship X-factors
Friday January 9th, 2015

It may have the feel of a Rose Bowl game when the Pac-12 champion Oregon Ducks face the Big Ten champion Ohio State Buckeyes for college football’s national championship on Monday night. However, the Ducks already won the Rose Bowl in a 59-20 rout of the defending national champion Florida State Seminoles as eight-point favorites on New Year’s Day. Oregon will have comparable odds again in the national title game, opening as a seven-point favorite against Ohio State before getting bet down to 6.5-point chalk at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com with the total sitting at 75.

The Buckeyes upset the Alabama Crimson Tide, 42-35, as 7.5-point underdogs in the Sugar Bowl, setting up the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Ohio State trailed Alabama 21-6 with 8:07 remaining in the second quarter before scoring 28 unanswered points to take a lead it would not surrender the rest of the game.

Sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones, filling in for the injured J.T. Barrett, threw for 243 yards with one touchdown and one interception while sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 230 yards and two scores to lead the Buckeyes offensively. Elliott has totaled 450 rushing yards and four touchdowns in Ohio State’s last two games, both straight-up wins as an underdog on the college football betting lines. Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer owns a 5-0 mark SU as an underdog at the school and has gone 18-5 against the spread as a dog during his career.

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Meanwhile, the Ducks are the hottest team in the country right now, winners of nine games in a row both SU and ATS. Led by Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, Oregon has scored 42 points or more in every game during the winning streak with the total going OVER five times.

Mariota turned in a stellar performance in the Rose Bowl victory against the Seminoles, which ended Florida State’s 29-game winning streak. The junior quarterback completed 26-of-36 passes for 338 yards with two touchdowns and one pick and ran for 62 yards on eight carries with another score.

• RICKMAN: Five steps for Ohio State to (try to) stop Marcus Mariota

Neither team has performed well in national championship games heading into this year’s matchup. Oregon appeared in the BCS Championship Game four years ago and fell just short in a 22-19 loss to the Auburn Tigers, also failing to cover the spread as a one-point favorite. Ohio State lost two straight BCS title games, falling 41-14 to then-Florida coach Meyer as a seven-point favorite in 2007 and 38-24 to the LSU Tigers as a four-point underdog in 2008.

The Ducks have won five of their last six games against Big Ten schools, going 3-3 ATS, but the Buckeyes upset the Ducks 26-17 as 4.5-point underdogs in the 2010 Rose Bowl, the last meeting between the schools.

• ROUNDTABLE: Breaking down keys to the national title game

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