The College Football Playoff National Championship has finally arrived, as the Ohio State Buckeyes and Alabama Crimson Tide meet at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. These are the most deserving teams in the country. There shouldn’t be any controversy going into this game regarding the matchup.
You could make the argument that Ohio State didn’t play a full schedule, but let’s be honest, they’re one of the two best teams in college football and should be playing in the National Championship. For a minute there, it looked like this game was going to be pushed back because of Covid-19.
Ohio State is dealing with a Covid-19 outbreak, and will be down some players on Monday night. However, with Justin Fields active, there is always going to be a chance for the Buckeyes. Like we’ve seen in the past, as recently as last night in Pittsburgh, it’s not always a sure thing that the team going through an outbreak is going to play badly.
The Browns missed practices throughout the week leading up to Sunday night, and went into Pittsburgh and blew out the Steelers. Ohio State is a deep team, so they can go through their depth chart and still put out talent on the field. That said, this is the Crimson Tide we’re talking about on the other side. Needing to dip deep into the depth chart against Alabama is never a good start.
Alabama has NFL talent all over the field. NFL talent that is going to be off the board early in the draft. Mac Jones, Najee Harris, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle are all going to be playing in the NFL next season. Harris might have to wait for his name to be called, but Jones, Smith, and Waddle should be gone in the first round. Smith and Waddle are a lock, and we’ll see if Jones falls to the second.
The Crimson Tide beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 31-14, in the semifinal of the College Football Playoff. If they wanted to beat Notre Dame by more than that, they probably could have. However, after getting ahead early, Alabama was able to put their offense on cruise control and begin their preparations for the National Championship.
That’s the fewest points that Alabama scored all season, though they knew Notre Dame was not moving the ball and didn’t have to keep pouring it on. Against Justin Fields and Ohio State? They might have to keep putting the pressure on offensively. Head below for our free Ohio State vs. Alabama pick on January 11, 2021.
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Alabama Crimson Tide CFP National Championship Betting Odds:
Ohio State vs. Alabama Prediction:
Alabama has been without speedster Jaylen Waddle since breaking his ankle against the Tennessee Volunteers on October 24. That was a blowout for Alabama in a 48-17 win. Alabama did not miss a beat without Waddle. They scored 41, 63, 42, 55, 52, and 56 points following the injury to Waddle.
The scary thing for the Ohio State secondary is that they can be better than that with Waddle in the starting lineup. Even if Waddle is more of a decoy in this game, his presence is going to be felt. Am I scared of Alabama failing to move the ball if he doesn’t move the ball at all? No. Expect Alabama to dice a beatable Ohio State secondary up on Monday night.
If Ohio State can’t pressure Mac Jones, then it’s going to be a long day for the Buckeye defense. That’s essentially the key to this game. Ohio State pressured Trevor Lawrence and that was how they beat Clemson by a score of 49-28. Note that this wasn’t the same Clemson team in the past. They were not nearly as explosive offensively.
Lawrence didn’t have the same weapons to work with. The Tigers lost Tee Higgins to the NFL, and I think that changes the offense a lot more than people want to admit at Clemson. The Ohio State defensive line likely isn’t going to get as many free shots on Jones as they did against Lawrence. Alabama has given Jones a clean look in every game this season. They’ve given him a nice pocket all season.
Heisman Trophy winner, DeVonta Smith, was on the receiving end more often than not of Jones’ passes. Smith was a monster and was well deserving of the Heisman. He caught 105 receptions for 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns. Smith was also a difficult returner to handle in the punt game. He set Bama up with prime field position often throughout the year. Throw Najee Harris in, a running back that ran for 1,387 yards and 24 touchdowns and the Crimson Tide will do whatever they want to do if the offensive line blocks.
Ohio State ranked in the bottom half of the FBS with 261.3 yards allowed per game through the air. And who did they play this season? They played a weak schedule with no offense that compares to Alabama. There isn’t an offense that compares to Alabama in the country. That said, I think Justin Fields can do some damage against an Alabama defense that isn’t as great as we’ve seen before.
The Crimson Tide have had issues against mobile quarterbacks previously, and wouldn’t be surprised to see a talent like Fields do well. Fields passed for 21 touchdowns and 6 interceptions on 73.4% completions. He also ran for 316 yards and 5 touchdowns. Keep in mind that Ohio State has only played seven games, so that’s impressive numbers. Ohio State averaged 544.9 yards and 43.4 points per game for fourth in the FBS. Look for Fields and running back Trey Sermon to have a productive night.
This is going to be a highly entertaining game. I could see plenty of fireworks in a wild back and forth battle. It’s a lot of points, and I was hesitant at first with a total of 75 points, but I could see this one getting crazy. Ohio State might try to play keep away from the Alabama offense early, but after the Crimson Tide march quickly down the field, that game plan will have to change quickly. I’m on the OVER in a 42-38 or 45-34 game in the CFP National Championship.