For a fan in the stands, the College Football Playoff National Championship had a feeling that was all its own.
Like every college football fan, I had immense interest in how the new College Football Playoff format would work. Most of all, I wanted to know what the atmosphere would be like at the first National Championship game. I was fairly certain that it would draw a limited number of students, since both Oregon and Ohio State would be back in school and Arlington, Texas, is an ambitious road trip even for thrill-seeking college students from Eugene and Columbus. But would it be a corporate crowd à la the Super Bowl? Would local, nonpartisan fans show up? Would alumni have tapped themselves out, having attended conference championship games and then either the Rose Bowl or the Sugar Bowl, which served as this year’s CFP semifinals?
I am delighted to report that the first CFP National Championship game at AT&T Stadium was supported by a partisan and enjoyably enthusiastic crowd, largely consisting of alumni of the two schools—though the cameras tended to focus on the small pockets of students in order to give it the feel of a college game. In fact, the whole weekend in North Texas was a great advertisement for college football, as the FCS Championship Game took place in nearby Frisco between Illinois State, sporting red colors similar to Ohio State’s, and the North Dakota State Bison, sporting the same green and yellow as the Oregon Ducks. The roving Oregon and North Dakota State supporters led to the first time that bison have been confused for ducks since Hunter S. Thompson’s last hunting trip. And for local Dallas football fans, it must have been a treat to view a sea of red sweaters (from visiting Illinois State and Ohio State supporters), none of which belonged to Chris Christie.