Blair Kerkhoff

A look at Blair Kerkhoff’s coverage ahead of the College Football Playoff title game

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer (right) and Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich spoke at a news conference Sunday before the NCAA College Football Playoff championship game.
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer (right) and Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich spoke at a news conference Sunday before the NCAA College Football Playoff championship game. The Associated Press

Oregon and Ohio State play in the first College Football Playoff title game at 7:30 Monday night in Arlington, Texas.

The game will be televised by ESPN. WHB (810 AM) will air the game on the radio.

The Star’s Blair Kerkhoff will be at AT&T Stadium covering the game. Here’s a roundup of his coverage leading up to Monday night’s game:

▪ Quarterbacks in college football championship game share success, not experience

Oregon’s Marcus Mariota has had an amazing season and captured the Heisman Trophy. Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones will make his third career start in College Football Playoff championship game. But given what happened in Jones’ starts against Wisconsin and Alabama, the Buckeyes don’t feel as though they have the disadvantage at quarterback.

▪ A preview of the national championship football game between Ohio State and Oregon

The Ducks have the Heisman Trophy winner. The Buckeyes have veteran coach Urban Meyer. Here’s a look at which team has the edge in several phases of the game.

▪ Final No. 2 could be up for grabs

The Oregon-Ohio State winner will be college football’s national champion, but polls will rank the rest of the top 25, and the loser of the first College Football Playoff championship game will have two losses and in the final wire-service polls could find itself behind a one-loss team such as TCU.

▪ One that got away from Mizzou: Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott

Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott has rushed for 450 yards in his last two games. He attended high school in St. Louis and grew up a big Missouri fan. But Ohio State offered first, and Elliott hasn’t regretted the decision to become a Buckeye.

▪ Oregon and Ohio State bring a breath of cold air to college football title game

The national championship pairing of Ohio State and Oregon marks the first time in the BCS/playoff era that teams from cold weather climates are playing the title. The nation’s population shift has brought more talent to the South and Sun Belt, but the Ducks and Buckeyes help change the landscape.

▪ Ducks down two more players

Wide receiver Darren Carrington has been ruled ineligible for the College Football Playoff championship game, Oregon coach Mark Helfrich Helfirchsaid.

▪ Semifinal games prove college football got playoff right

As the inaugural College Football Playoff awaits its first championship game, Oregon-Ohio State on Jan. 12, it can take a bow for getting the semifinals right. From full stadiums to record TV audiences and intriguing storylines, the new system proved to be a smash hit out of the gate.

▪ New Year’s Day rings in college football’s new order

For the first time, the season for bowl game winners won’t end. The Rose and Sugar Bowl champions will play on to the first College Football Playoff title game on Jan. 12. Oregon, Florida State, Alabama and Ohio State are the sport’s first final four.

▪ College Football Playoff committee’s choices question the Big 12 way

The Big 12 and some of its schools have waged PR and marketing campaigns in recent years to promote and advance accomplishments, so the conference shouldn’t have an awareness issue. But in at least one area, a disconnect may exist between how the Big 12 is perceived nationally and how it views itself, and that could have played into decisions made on the College Football Playoff bracket.

▪ Eight’s not a crazy number for College Football Playoff

ACC commissioner John Swofford suggested eight teams and not four would be the ideal number for the College Football Playoff. The thinking is a good one. Make room for the five champions of the power conferences and three at-large teams.

▪ Even an inclusive College Football Playoff is going to exclude a conference champ

By early Sunday morning we’ll have projected another foursome while awaiting the playoff committee’s ranking on Tuesday. But the math won’t change: Four spots won’t accommodate five power conference teams.

▪ Great escapes mark college football’s opening act

Florida State and Alabama entered the season as the top two teams in college football. But both were pushed into the fourth quarter of their season openers at neutral sites. And look for Texas A&M to make the biggest jump in national perception after the Aggies’ resounding victory at South Carolina.

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to Follow him on Twitter @BlairKerkhoff.