The most coveted trophy in all of college sports will be once again up for grabs as the Alabama Crimson Tide and Ohio State Buckeyes will slug it out on the gridiron this evening.
There is no question that Alabama deserves to be favored entering this matchup as all season long they have proven to be the best team in college football.
Without a doubt, they have one of the most complete football teams in recent memory and have numerous dangerous weapons in their repertoire.
Where do you even start?
You have to start with the first wide receiver Heisman Trophy winner since Desmond Howard of Michigan completed the feat nearly 30 years ago in 1991. DeVonta Smith has put together a season for the ages that will go down in Crimson Tide history. Totaling 1,641 receiving yards, 20 touchdown receptions, and 105 overall catches, Smith has been impressive nonetheless especially in such a daunting year with a shortened regular season.
Smith has broken nearly every receiving record in school history besides single-season receiving years, which he just sits 86 yards shy of Amari Cooper’s record set in 2014.
Smith has been such a reliable receiver for his talented quarterback Mac Jones, who has had a remarkable season of his own. Jones has thrown for 4,036 and 36 touchdowns while completing 77% of his passes, which is most in the nation. He has taken charge of an offense that scores the second-highest average of points in the land at 48.2 per game. Jones has a tremendous amount of poise and pocket awareness that gives him the ability to hit splash plays and make this offense so dangerous.
While Smith and Jones have been the deadly duo for this Bama team, there have been rumblings about the return of Jaylen Waddle. This would catapult Alabama’s offense right over the top without a doubt as it gives Jones another weapon with his sharp route running ability and quickness.
Although the air attack for Bama is potent, do not forget about the run game as Najee Harris continues to be a massive impact on the ground. Harris totaled 125 yards in the semifinal game against Notre Dame.
The dynamic approach that Alabama brings to the table may be tough for Ohio State to handle, but the Buckeyes do have a solid run-stop defense that can be a big advantage in this contest.
Haskell Garrett and Tommy Togiai will be called upon with a huge task in limiting Harris’ performance on the ground.
The Buckeyes have a handful of playmakers on the defensive side that can aid in victory for the team, but the true story will be if Ohio State can keep up on offense.
Ohio State took the fuel from Dabo Swinney’s coaches poll ranking to defeat Clemson in the semifinals, but they are not done yet.
Justin Fields week in and week out continues to prove why he is one of the best quarterback prospects out of this upcoming draft. Fields, along with his accuracy and downfield throwing ability, gives them another option by running the ball. He has led his offense to an average of 43.4 points per game.
Ohio State will rely heavily on Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave to be game-changers and look for them as red-zone options. The duo has combined for 12 touchdowns in their seven games played.
The biggest difference-maker in this game will most definitely be Trey Sermon and Ohio State’s ground game. If Sermon can continue his torrid tear that he is currently on, the Buckeyes will be fine. Sermon’s record-setting performance in the Big 10 Championship and his 193 yards against Clemson have made him the go-to guy on the field for the Buckeyes.
Each year the National Championship provides an electric matchup and great storylines, but this year may be one of the best ever.
The last time these two teams met was during the first year of the College Football Playoff when the Buckeyes upset the number one seed 42-35 in the Sugar Bowl.
Nick Saban and his squad will look to avoid that in this year’s National Championship game and win their third title in the College Football Playoff era.
Prediction: Alabama wins 38-34