By Jamie MacDonald | Jan. 11, 2015, 7:30 p.m. (ET)

At long last, we have arrived at the College Football Playoff National Championship, with the grand finale of a long season taking place on Jan. 12. As we have all season long, we're checking in with a couple of prominent alums who have serious rooting interests -- and a great deal of knowledge -- in the biggest game of the season. Ohio State and Oregon square off Monday night in Arlington, Texas, so we asked Olympians Ashton Eaton and Amanda Furrer who will win in the matchup of their alma maters.

Eaton A
Twitter: @ashtonjeaton

Ashton Eaton
Sport: Decathlon
College/University: University of Oregon
Graduation year: 2010

What were your emotions like watching the semifinal?

For the first quarter it was equivalent to throwing a handful of golf balls at a map with emotions written on it randomly. We’d get close to scoring, then wouldn’t convert, then they’d get a field goal then we’d score but the referees would decide it didn’t count so we would score again. It was thrilling. Overall, I was enjoying how well each team was playing. By the second quarter, I had that feeling you get after you trip in the middle of a staircase and skip down a few steps then catch yourself; you walk away fine but wonder how bad that really could have been.

By the third quarter I started doing laundry.

At what point did you feel comfortable thinking your team would be playing for a national title?

Some point closely after the Big Bang.

Clearly you're already a fan, but what would a national title for your school mean to you personally?

It would mean that those people I see at the Oregon facilities every day, players and staff, got what I had seen all their tasks revolve around for the last nine months. That would be a good feeling. Every time I see them, they’re working hard.

Who will win, by what score and why?

Oregon will win by a margin produced by some derivation of the formula below because EINSTEIN SAID SO.

the-normal-distribution

Who will be the star of the game?

Mark Helfrich


Twitter: @Amanda_Furrer

Amanda Furrer
Sport: Shooting/Rifle
College/University: Ohio State University
Graduation year: 2013

What were your emotions like watching the semifinal?

Watching the semifinal, I felt like I was playing in the game myself! I was nervous and excited at the same time. It’s like I could feel what the players were going through, having been in a high-intensity competitive situation myself. It also made me miss being back at Ohio State, thinking of how fun it is to be part of the athletic experience there and the energy of being at the games. The game was a little nerve-wracking with the leading score going back and forth between the two schools, but I knew Ohio State was going to get it!

At what point did you feel comfortable thinking your team would be playing for a national title?

I had confidence that Ohio State would win and play for the national title, but at no point was I comfortable. It’s the same in my competitions. I am confident in my skills, but I never get complacent or comfortable thinking it’s going to be an easy win. It’s the same way I felt watching the football game, especially with the score being as close as it was. After the last touchdown we scored at the end, I felt a huge sense of relief, and it was in the bag after that.

Clearly you're already a fan, but what would a national title for your school mean to you personally?

People always hate on the ones at the top, so it would be great to put those people to rest. Throughout the semifinal and since, I’ve heard lots of people talk about how Ohio State is going to be shut down. Those people were wrong then and I believe they’re going to be wrong again. I already know my school is the best and it’s our time to show the rest of the country that. Ohio State has a tradition of excellence and I'm proud to be a part of that legacy.

Who will win, by what score and why?

My prediction is that Ohio State is going to win the game 49-42. Both teams are strong and very talented, so it’s going to be a close game no matter what. I favor Ohio State to win not only because I went to school there, but also because I know the guts that these guys have. I know the drive they have. It’s instilled in us as athletes at Ohio State and I know we can pull out a win.

Who will be the star of the game?

As I said before the last game, I think the star of the game is going to be between Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliott. Cardale has been strong in his two games as starting quarterback and is probably getting more comfortable being thrown into that position in the three biggest games of the year. Ezekiel’s running game is going to be essential in opening up passes for Cardale. I really don’t think there can be one single star of the game. It's a combination of athletes and things that come together that make for great plays. Each person on the field will need to play their part to lead Ohio State to victory.