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Patriots Will Not Attend the College Football National Championship: Game Times, Details, Open Thread

The Patriots won't be attending the College Football National Championship. Why not, and who should you be watching?

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The football hasn't stopped! Tonight marks the College Football National Championship game between Ohio State (13-1) and Oregon (13-1). Both teams have distant ties to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick- Ohio State is led by old friend and former University of Florida Head Coach Urban Meyer, while Oregon would host Belichick and share no-huddle tips when current Eagles head coach, and former Oregon head coach, Chip Kelly was at the helm.

The game will be played in the Dallas Cowboys stadium. Kick off is 8:30 PM EST, with the game playing on ESPN.

The New England Patriots will not be in attendance due to a limited supply of scouting credentials available. The teams that are allowed to attend:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Houston Texans

Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

St. Louis Rams

There are plenty of players worth watching, and possibly none are more important than Oregon's starting quarterback Marcus Mariota, the leading candidate to be the #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. He has a mind boggling 40-3 touchdown to interception ratio, and swept most major awards during trophy season.

Other players include Oregon's defensive lineman Arik Armstead, brother of former Patriot Armond Armstead. Standing at 6'8, 280 lbs, Armstead is a physical force, but his potential (like his brother's) is undeniable. He used to be on Oregon's basketball team.

Oregon's center Hroniss Grasu should draw attention, at 6'3, 300 lbs he presents good size on the line, and he clearly has the athleticism to thrive in a fast paced offense. Any and all interior linemen should be of note for Patriots fans watching the game.

For Ohio State, defensive tackle Michael Bennett is their top prospect, a 6'2, 290 lbs penetrating force with a quick first step. He's not as explosive as a healthy Dominique Easley, but he certainly has a way of getting into the opposition's backfield.

Another fun player to watch on Ohio State is wide receiver Devin Smith. Smith is 6'1, 200 lbs, but the Buckeyes mostly just send him down the field where he's one of the league's premier players at high pointing the ball and breaking down in the open field.

Use this game as your open thread. Enjoy!