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College Football’s first National Championship!

Will Marcus Mariota go all the way?

College football fans, the day so many of you have waited for is finally almost upon us. On Monday, January 12th, 2015, division I College Football will finally see its official title-deciding game. After an exciting weekend in which the Ohio State Buckeyes beat up on the Florida State Seminoles and the Oregon Ducks upset the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, the stage is set for an exciting final. The Ducks and Buckeyes are both extremely hot teams, and in many ways this game is a study in contrasts. Oh yeah, and this game is on pace to be the most ever wagered-upon game in college football history!

The Buckeyes are coached by the 50-year-old living coaching legend, Urban Meyer. Meyer is a proven winner who’s seeking his third national championship (of course, we needn’t remind anyone that this is the first official national championship), and has managed his team through the loss of two starting quarterbacks as well as the tragic death of one of its players. Ohio State relies heavily on the run, bruising their way to enormous margins of victory by pounding opponents at the line of scrimmage. They can throw the ball if they really need to—quarterback Cardale Jones can reportedly throw the ball 80 yards on the fly and a ridiculous 65 yards from one knee—but they mostly prefer to win on the ground. Ezekiel Elliot is one of the nation’s best runners, rolling up 220 and 230 yards in his past two games.
The Ducks are coached Mark Helfrich, a 41-year-old relative newcomer. Helfrich has the Ducks using a wide-open, up-tempo offense, led by Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota. Helfrich uses an uncommon approach, in which he favors “horizontal leadership” and minimal yelling. The Ducks do need to be able to run inside the tackles, but this is mainly to balance out their fast-paced passing attack. Mariota is widely believed to be NFL-ready, combining size, speed and a good arm with practically nonexistent turnovers and an even temperament. The Ducks have been rolling up points in big chunks, and once they get in a rhythm, they render defenses exhausted and off balance. As for the Ducks’ defense, it’s been opportunistic and tougher than their lack of hype would suggest. Their pass rush is capable of causing problems, and if they create just a couple of turnovers, their games get out of hand—in their favor—in a hurry.
This game should be evenly matched on the field, despite its numerous contrasts, but the Ducks have a few situations they’re dealing with. Freshman receiver Darren Carrington will miss the game after failing a drug test; Carrington was second on the team with 704 receiving yards this season, and racked up 165 yards and two scores in the Rose Bowl. The Ducks are also missing, for the second straight game, cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu because of a knee injury. As if that isn’t enough, freshman receiver Devon Allen inured his knee on the opening kickoff of the Rose Bowl and is also done for the year. This has contributed to a fluctuating betting line in what might be the most anticipated college football game in a decade.
Once kickoff starts and the bright lights go on, it’ll all come down to energy and execution. Who’s your pick to win the first college football national title? Tweet us @BracketHead using the hashtag #FanCrazy and sound off with your predictions. You can also send us fan photos, make bold predictions, and post photos to our Facebook wall. If you or someone you know is a REAL #FanCrazy fan, send us proof in a picture with a catchy caption! And don’t forget to check in and follow us for a chance to win fun prizes!
May the brackets bust in your favor,

The folks at FanCheer

#GoFanCheer

College Football Playoff Preview

Well, college football fans, the time is finally nigh: the inaugural NCAA football playoff is here! Here at FanCheer, we’re going to give you some stuff to look for in the two big first round games.
Game one is the Rose Bowl, set for 5:00 Eastern Time on New Year’s Day. It features kind of a study in contrasts: the mercurial, controversial Jameis Winston against the polished, seemingly NFL-ready Marcus Mariota. Another clear contrast is in the Ducks and Seminoles’ paths to victory. Florida State always seems to cut it close, and in fact has often taken its first lead of the game within five minutes of the end of regulation. On the contrary, Oregon has often had games well in hand from early on. This doesn’t mean that haven’t at all been tested, but they’ve had a better knack for controlling the flow of play. The Noles’ tendency to cut it close—often due to early blunders—has made them a highly controversial choice to appear in the playoff, and they come into it with a lot to prove in the eyes of many. Despite neither being the top ranked team in the nation, both come in with a championship-or-bust aura. As for the matchup, it should be interesting: the Ducks can really throw it around, and the Seminoles have at times been leaky in their pass defense. As for Winston and company, he’s got game-breaking talent and late-game resilience as well as a platoon of speed merchants that can make secondaries look bad. If the Seminoles catch the turnover bug early, the Ducks won’t be as easy to make up ground against. But if both teams bring their A games, this one might be a serious shootout.
The next playoff game is the Sugar Bowl, set for 8:30 Eastern Time on New Year’s Day. It features the number one seeded Alabama Crimson Tide, widely considered the best team in the country. The Ohio State Buckeyes, meanwhile, are another controversial selection despite destroying 13thranked Wisconsin 59-0 to close the regular season. The Buckeyes have stayed the course despite losing multiple quarterbacks to injury and one of its players to a tragic suicide; they come in looking to validate their selection over Big 12 co-champions Baylor and TCU. If the Buckeyes have a chance to upset the Tide, it might be downfield: Alabama was just 57th in the country in passing defense in terms of yards allowed. If the Tide get caught looking ahead, this could get interesting.
Here at FanCheer, we think it’ll be the Ducks meeting the Tide in the national title game on January 12th. Who do you think wins the first round of the first ever college football playoffs? Tweet us @BracketHead using the hashtag #FanCrazy and sound off with your predictions. You can also send us fan photos, make bold predictions, and post photos to our Facebook wall. And don’t forget to check in and follow us for a chance to win fun prizes!
May the brackets bust in your favor,

The folks at FanCheer

#GoFanCheer

Rivalry Week!

Well, football fans, this is a week we’ve waited for for a while, and it didn’t disappoint. Thursday night, 5th ranked TCU dropped 48 on the Texas Longhorns. The Horned Frogs are averaging 46 points a game, and are really making a stronger and stronger case to be in the top four.
Friday afternoon saw a whopper of an upset, as unranked Stanford clobbered the 8th-ranked UCLA Bruins in their own stadium, 31-10. In a game that featured an enormous pregame scuffle, Western Kentucky ended Marshall’s undefeated run in a 67-66 overtime thriller! No. 17 Missouri won its second straight SEC East title with a 21-14 win over Arkansas. And with the path cleared by UCLA’s loss, the Arizona-Arizona State game was for the Pac 12 South title and went down to the wire! Arizona took it on a late fourth-down stop, 42-35, and will play Oregon next week for the Pac 12 championship. Oh yeah, they’re already the only team to have beaten the Ducks this season!
No. 3 Florida State cut it close yet again, outlasting Florida 24-19. Mississippi beat 4th ranked Mississippi State 31-17, clearing the way for TCU’s playoff push, and no. 6 Ohio State beat Michigan 42-28 but lost quarterback J.T. Barrett to a season ending broken leg. No. 16 Georgia Tech beat no. 9 Georgia in a crazy overtime battle, and no. 14 Wisconsin sent themselves to the Big Ten title game by beating no. 18 Minnesota 34-24. And no. 7 Baylor won a wild one over Texas Tech, outlasting them to the tune of 48-46! Elsewhere in the top tier, no. 2 Oregon pounded Oregon State 47-19. This season, Ducks QB Marcus Mariota now has 47 touchdowns (15 rushing) and two picks. Yes, really…
But it wouldn’t be Rivalry Week without the annual Iron Bowl, and it didn’t disappoint! Top-ranked Alabama overcame three interceptions to take a second half lead over 15th ranked Auburn, in the highest scoring game in Iron Bowl history. The Tide pulled away at the end to win a whopping 55-44!
With the calendar ticking away, the first ever NCAA football playoff is just around the corner. Which four will make the cut? Has Mariota locked down the Heisman? Tweet us @BracketHead using the hashtag #FanCrazy and sound off with your predictions. You can also send us fan photos, make bold predictions, and post photos to our Facebook wall. And don’t forget to check in and follow us for a chance to win fun prizes!
May the brackets bust in your favor,

The folks at FanCheer

#GoFanCheer

Week 10 continues to mix things up

The week in college football began with an exciting test for no. 2 Florida State! 25th ranked Louisville went up 21-7 on the Seminoles early, before Jameis Winston led his team back to a 42-31 win. Winston provided one of the plays of the game when he forced a fumble on the defensive back who’d just intercepted him! It was a promising start to Week Ten.
In the top-ten matchup of the week, no. 3 Auburn edged out no. 4 Ole Miss in an absolute thriller! After an outstanding performance, receiver Laquon Treadwell suffered a gruesome ankle injury and lost control of the ball a yard away from a go-ahead score in the final minutes. The Auburn Tigers recovered in the end zone, and hung on to win 35-31.
In West Virginia, two of college football’s aspiring Cinderellas battled as the Mountaineers hosted TCU. The nation’s highest-scoring team needed a walkoff field goal to beat the home team 31-30! Will they continue their climb toward the top five?
Elsewhere in the rankings, no. 10 Notre Dame withstood a serious challenge from under-.500 Navy. In the week’s biggest upset, unranked Florida pounded 11th-ranked Georgia 38-20, and top-ranked Mississippi State needed a last-minute pick in their own end zone to beat unranked Arkansas.
 How will the standings look after this week’s action? Tweet us @BracketHead using the hashtag #FanCrazy and sound off with your predictions. You can also send us fan photos, make bold predictions, and post photos to our Facebook wall. And don’t forget to check in and follow us for a chance to win fun prizes!
May the brackets bust in your favor,

The folks at FanCheer

#GoFanCheer

Bloody Saturday

Welcome to the playoff era of college football. While it’s been widely debated whether the new playoff system will help or hurt college football, one thing is sure: this week was action packed!

It began on Thursday night, when the BYU Cougars lost their quarterback to a season-ending injury and the unranked Arizona Wildcats beat the second-ranked Oregon Ducks.

Then, on Saturday, all heck really broke loose.
The top-ranked Florida State Seminoles held serve with a big win, but four of the top six teams (and five of the top eight) lost, and no. 16 USC lost to unranked Arizona State on a hail mary. No. 25 TCU took down no. 4 Oklahoma in a nail-biter, 5th ranked Auburn pounded 15th ranked LSU, and in one of the day’s bigger shockers, no. 16 Mississippi State dropped 48 points on no.6 Texas A&M! Meanwhile, Ole Miss took down the third ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, making Saturday one of the biggest days in Mississippi sports in recent memory. Stars rose, injuries abounded, and the Top 25 shuffled like a deck of cards after the dealer’s had three cups of coffee.
As if all that wasn’t crazy enough, the California Golden Bears beat the Washington State Cougars 60-59—and the Cougars’ quarterback, Connor Halliday, threw for 734 yards. Go back and read that again, because it’s not a typo.
Going into Week 7, we have some great college football matchups to look forward to. On Saturday, 2nd ranked Auburn faces Mississippi State, who’s risen to third in the nation. Washington State plays no. 25 Stanford, and no. 13 Georgia plays at no. 23 Missouri. The standings are wide open, the rankings are topsy-turvy, and everyone’s on upset alert. Check in with FanCheer for this week’s featured game, ( ). Last but not least, check out @BracketHead on Twitter to join in the fan chatter and for the chance to win FanCheer prizes!
May the brackets bust in your favor,

The folks at FanCheer

#GoFanCheer