The Ohio State Buckeyes and Alabama Crimson Tide have taken their talents to Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
The game will come down to this, Alabama’s offense facing Ohio State’s defense. It sounds cliché; however, the Buckeyes were ranked 116th against the pass this season. The Crimson Tide racked up 48 points per game courtesy of a fantastic passing attack staring the best wide receiver in the country, DeVonta Smith.
Crimson Tide and Buckeyes have been two of the top-three recruiting teams in recent years. There is no surprise they are meeting in this College Football Playoff National Championship.
The same two teams also have the two top-ranked recruiting classes of 2021, according to 247Sports.com. Only one team will win Monday night. Let begin with the Buckeyes.
The Big Ten conference did not start their team’s college football season because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Fast forward, they have the Buckeyes representing the Bug Ten after a shortened season. Buckeyes only played six regular-season games. They had a convincing 49-28 win over the Clemson Tigers in the Sugar Bowl, entering the game 7-0, 5-0 Big Ten.
“When you think about that, it just kind of emphasizes the point of just how chaotic this past three, four, five months have been. Some days you woke up, you didn’t know which direction you were going in. Yeah, certainly there was a time where we didn’t think we’d have a season when we weren’t sure if we were going to restart a season,” Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day said. “I think, again, which goes to show you how strong our guys have been. Every program has gone through some different version of it. But yeah, I mean, at some point we’re going to sit back and go through all this stuff; now is not the time. All the focus is on playing in this game.”
The Edge at quarterback goes to the Buckeyes. Justin Fields is a projected top-five pick in the NFL Draft. Fields has an excellent tight end in Jeremy Ruckert after his three-catch, 55 yards, two-touchdown effort against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl proved that.
Defensively the Buckeyes held opponents to an average of 89.14 yards per game (second-best nationally) and 3.2 yards per rush (10th nationally) while allowing just eight of 195 rushing attempts to go longer than 20 yards. Buckeyes defensive back Shaun Wade will be primarily covering Smith, and it will be a fun match up to see.
Alabama is favored slightly under ten points.
Along with Smith, Crimson Tide has quarterback Mac Jones and running back Najee Harris. Alabama’s offensive line won the Joe Moore Award, given annually to college football’s best offensive line. The offense will be the best the Buckeyes have faced all year.
Other than leaping over a defender in the semi-final game against Notre Dame, Harris has been the best running back in the country. Buckeyes will only hope to contain him. He enters the game with 1,387 yards rushing and led the nation with 24 touchdowns.
Jones has the talent around him, but he has been perfect at not crashing the Roll Royce. Jones has been accurate in placing the ball in the right spots for his playmakers around him and reading the defenses in making the decisions. Jones enters the game with 77 percent completion, 4,036 passing yards, 36 touchdowns, and only four interceptions.
“Our team has shown a lot of maturity and perseverance throughout the season. I think you mentioned the fact that there have been a lot of disruptions, and I think we anticipated that early on when this all started back in March,” Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban said. “We told our players basically the team that shows the maturity to be able to handle disruptions is going to have the best chance to be successful in the end, and consistency in performance is always the key to success, and that perseverance has shown up in the way we’ve been able to play with consistency. But you also want to finish strong.”
Crimson Tide’s strength is at the wide receiver position. Smith’s sidekick is John Metchie III. Jaylen Waddle may play in the game after recovering from an ankle injury. If the Buckeyes stop the passing game, they have a chance.
Crimson Tide’s defense has something to prove in the game since the offense has been highly talked about as the best part of the team.
My pick: Crimson Tide will be more than Buckeyes can handle. Roll Tide by 20.