Why Clemson vs. Oregon Would Be the Perfect BCS Championship Game
If it's true that variety is the spice of life, then college football has been about as bland as a saltine cracker these days.
The BCS National Championship trophy hasn't gone to a cold-weather school since 2002, has been won by the Southeastern Conference seven straight times and has been in the state of Alabama for four years running.
With the Alabama Crimson Tide currently ranked at No. 1, that stale trend might be set to continue. However, there is still hope for the final BCS title game to be a different one, a bolder one.
Ohio State, Stanford, Clemson, Oregon and several other schools still have hopes of ending the reign of the SEC and Alabama atop college football.
Of all the potential matchups, Clemson and Oregon would be the spiciest of all. Instead of seeing another flavor-free national title game dominated by an SEC defense, college football fans would be treated to a full-service hibachi grill by the Tigers and the Ducks.
The UO-CU matchup would set two explosive offenses against one another, each led by talented dual-threat quarterbacks and ignited by some of the most explosive playmakers in college football.
There might not be a better matchup of foot speed than the potential pitting of Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas and Clemson's Sammy Watkins.
Both Thomas and Watkins can break a play for six at any given moment. Both are elite returners and, though the two juniors fill different roles in their offense, they each play a vital role and put together crazy highlight reels in the process.
Watkins joined Clemson in 2011 as the No. 19 prospect and No. 3 receiver in the 247Sports composite ratings. Thomas joined Oregon the same year as the No. 16 overall prospect and No. 1 all-purpose back in those same rankings.
At the collegiate level, both have lived up to their billings.
Thomas, primarily a running back, has amassed more than 1,600 yards on the ground, 1,000 yards receiving and 1,700 yards returning punts and kicks. Along with his 4,000-plus all-purpose yards, DAT has reached the end zone 42 times.
Watkins, a receiver, has eclipsed 2,400 yards receiving, 300 yards rushing and 1,100 return yards. Also near the 4,000-all-purpose yard mark, Watkins has found the end zone 20 times. Those numbers would be higher if he hadn't missed time in 2012.
The matchup of Thomas and Watkins would be enough to carry the billing alone, but even these two mercurial stars would be overshadowed by their quarterbacks.
Redshirt senior Tajh Boyd will be the one throwing to Watkins and is one of the nation's most prolific passers. Through Week 6 of 2013, Boyd is just about two games away from breaking the 10,000-yard passing plateau for his career.
In addition to his 9,500 passing yards and 87 touchdowns through the air, Boyd can do some serious work on the ground. For his career, the Hampton, Va. native is nearing the 1,000-yard mark on the ground, with 20 touchdowns.
Boyd's hard-nosed running style would provide a thrilling contrast to the speedy ways of Oregon's dual-threat signal caller, Marcus Mariota.
A redshirt sophomore, Mariota has already produced ridiculous numbers in his time at the helm in Eugene. He has thrown for more than 4,000 yards with 46 touchdowns and only six interceptions.
He hasn't thrown an interception yet this season and has averaged 12 yards per carry and 10 yards per pass attempt.
The way Boyd and Mariota are playing, there's an excellent chance one of the two will be carrying the "Heisman Trophy curse" into their BCS title clash at the Rose Bowl.
Both offenses are averaging more than 500 yards per game thus far, though they do it quite differently. CU does the job with the pass, where it ranks 11th nationally at 343.2 yards per game. UO finds its way on the ground and ranks third in the country with 335.8 yards per contest.
Which BCS title matchup would you most like to see?
Although the means are different, the ends are the same—both attacks are scoring more than 44 points per game.
The two teams aren't just all offense, either. Despite their perceptions as one-sided teams, both clubs can stop an opposing offense cold.
UO is second in the nation in scoring defense, giving up just shy of 12 points per contest. Clemson isn't far behind in 16th, giving up just more than 16 points per game.
Given the recent blowouts delivered by Alabama in the last two national title games, college football fans deserve a closely contested game, whether it is a shootout or not.
And even though these two teams are very different in philosophy, the product is similar: Oregon and Clemson can play and would be the most evenly matched title game imaginable.
Even if one side does end up running away with the win, well, at least the crystal football will be somewhere other than in an SEC trophy room.
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