The National Championship Game often has a lot of storylines circulating, especially in the lead up to kickoff. With that being said, I wanted to focus on what I believe to be the three biggest stories going into Championship Monday.
1) THE BIG TEN CROWNS A CHAMPION…FINALLY
It only took us seven seasons. Okay, in fairness, it only took us four if we stick with the playoff eras. But for the first time in CFSL history, a Big Ten team will be crowned a National Champion. Now, I know what you may be thinking. “But I thought Notre Dame was our first National Championship winner?” And you would be correct, but here’s a little CFSL history piece for you. In Season One, which was the first playoff system in the CFSL, conferences did not exist. All teams played in a single unified conference where the top four got in. The league was divided into two conferences going into the CFSL’s second season. From then on, it was the SEC’s world in some capacity. Until this season. With Notre Dame handling Alabama and USC finally besting Auburn, we see an all Big Ten National Title game.
2) usc the new auburn?
Tell me if you’ve heard this story before. A team makes the National Championship game, and it’s their first appearance in the modern playoff era. They play a close game, but lose by throwing an interception late. Sound familiar? It should, because that was Auburn in Season Five. They made the National Championship Game, faced Texas, and lost on Griffin Jelkic interception. Last season? It’s USC facing Auburn, and Kingston Fox threw an interception in the final minute to Auburn safety Digger Graves, clinching Auburn’s first National Title in CFSL history. Now, USC is making their second consecutive National Championship Game appearance. Will history repeat itself? For USC, they certainly hope so.
3) THE SWANN SONG OF THE FIGHTING IRISH
One of the larger stories of the off-season has carried over into the postseason. When Dijon Swann made the decision to leave Oregon, many were surprised. Swann had made a name for himself as a receiver out west. But then he took this immense talents to South Bend to pair with the gunslinger in Leo Asiata, who was coming off a sophomore season that screamed a necessity for growth. And grow he did. Asiata has taken a massive step forward as passer this season, and Swann has been the main beneficiary of that fact. Dijon Swann has cemented himself as the second all-time receiver in both receiving touchdowns and receiving yards. Not to mention, 93 yards away from being only the second receiver in CFSL history to reach 4,000 receiving yards in a career. Oh, and Swann is on the cusp of accomplishing something that the all-time leading receiver, Jared Tetonis, never did. Win a National Title.