Arlington, Texas — I admit it. The video board is amazing. (It’s my first trip to AT&T Stadium.) Did you know that it alone cost $40 million, or more than Texas Stadium — the Dallas Cowboys’ former home, the one with the hole in a roof that didn’t close — cost in its entirety? All hail the wealth and chutzpah of Jerry Jones!
My seat: Not amazing. I’m in the main press box, which is, in the way of all new main press boxes, shunted to the side. (The 50-yard-line press boxes are now luxury suites. Teams finally asked themselves, “Why give the best seats to the people who don’t pay?”) I’m overlooking the pylon in the back of the end zone bearing the words “Ohio State.” Which is, in the grand scheme, fine. I’m indoors, I’m dry, I’m warm. The Ice Bowl this ain’t.
About the game: I pick the Buckeyes to win 34-30, for two reasons — a better defense (Oregon’s is ranked 84th in the nation) and Urban Meyer. But Oregon is favored by about a touchdown, which means that I, not exactly for the first time, could well be wrong.
I’d be surprised if this one winds up 45-44. Big games, even ones between two splendid offenses, are seldom as high-scoring as we’d expect. Rare is the team that can play fast and free and easy with so much at stake.
Maybe Oregon is that team. Or maybe Ohio State, which plays fast itself, is. Maybe the first team to 50 will indeed win. But I’d be surprised.
With that, the figurative floor is again open. I’ll be here, overlooking the pylon, until the first tournament champion in the history of major-college football is crowned. I welcome your coverage, and I have to admit: I’m happy to be here. This feels like history, probably because it is.