Well, who would have guessed it? Alabama does it again for the fifth time in the last 11 years. The Crimson Tide, who has been ranked first in the standings for all of this season, won the national championship against the Ohio State Buckeyes by a score of 52-24. The Alabama Crimson Tide continue the Nick Saban dynasty.
DeVonta Smith continued his historic Heisman season before exiting the game with an apparent finger injury. Smith hauled in 12 catches for a whopping 215 yards. Mac Jones also closed out his career with a game to remember, throwing for 464 yards.
The Buckeyes’ bruising RB Trey Sermon left after just one play, leaving the OSU offense without their best rusher. Highly touted QB Justin Fields was rendered largely ineffective against the Crimson Tide defense that certainly came to play.
The Case For Ohio State
I mean really, did Ohio State ever have a chance? Sure, they handled Clemson in the first round of the playoffs, but there was legitimate bad blood between those two teams. For starters, Clemson beat Ohio State in the first round of the playoffs last year on a last-second interception.
Beyond that, Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields are likely the top two quarterback picks in the 2021 NFL Draft. Experts have praised Trevor Lawrence’s talent since his highly touted freshman campaign. Justin Fields, who spent one year on the Georgia Bulldogs’ bench before transferring to the Buckeyes, certainly had something to prove in that game.
Finally, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney made the age-old mistake of talking trash ahead of their matchup. However peripheral the “trash talk” was, it certainly lit a fire under the Buckeyes. In the playoff voting, Swinney ranked Ohio State 11th in the country behind teams like Cincinnati, Georgia, and Texas A&M. He may have eaten his words after getting blown out by the “11th best team” in the country.
But Alabama? Is it Really a Surprise?
But was this any match for ‘Bama? THE University of Alabama? The most prolific college football program in the modern era? I don’t think so. Beyond the head to head matchup, Ohio State simply didn’t have the same fire they had against Clemson. They didn’t have the personal beef with the Crimson Tide. They had already proved themselves worthy against Clemson, this appearance was simply icing on the cake.
Then you look at the Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. He injured his rib/midsection in the middle of the Clemson game. If he could have played at full strength, perhaps it could have been a different game. The biggest knock against Alabama has been their inability to contain mobile quarterbacks. When Justin Fields has legs, he can do some damage to a defense. But, alas, he did not play at full strength and the game was not very close.
Okay, okay, enough making excuses for Ohio State. Let’s take a look at Alabama’s team. This year, many experts who were used to Alabama having an untouchable defense thought their team was vulnerable. In the third game of the season, Saban’s defense gave up 48 points to Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss. So was this the year that someone could take down the impenetrable Alabama team?
Short answer, no. While their defense this year was comparably weak (at least to their own standards), they developed the most productive offense college football has seen. Even compared to last year’s LSU team with Joe Burrow, Mac Jones, Devonte Smith, Najee Harris and the rest of the Alabama offense have concocted some beast of a machine. Both the 2019 LSU squad and the 2020 Bama squad averaged over 48 points per game.
So, all in all, the University of Alabama was destined to continue the dynasty this year. Between having two of the four Heisman finalists on their offense and having the evil genius Nick Saban as head coach, no team in college football could even touch the Crimson Tide. And honestly… is anyone surprised?