Ohio State vs Alabama College Football Playoff National Championship prediction and game preview.
Ohio State vs Alabama: College Football Playoff National Championship Broadcast
Date: Monday, January 11, 2021
Game Time: 8:00
Venue: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
DeVonta Smith Aiming to Cap Incredible Season
Smith became the first wide receiver to capture the Heisman Trophy in 29 years. He finished the season with 105 receptions, 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns. For style points, he tacked on 130 yards and three touchdowns in Alabama’s win over Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl.
Smith is a complete package that could give the Ohio State secondary nightmare’s. Shaun Wade was once a projected first round pick, but along with the rest of the Buckeyes defense has been allowing chunks of yards through the air all season. Considering Smith has seven games with multiple touchdowns, it would be no surprise to see him play a factor in the championship game.
Ohio State (7-0) vs Alabama (12-0) Game Preview
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Justin Fields Looks to Cement Draft Status
How Healthy Are Ohio State and Alabama?
It’s one of the big questions coming in to the game, and unfortunately, there won’t be much of an answer until game day. Ryan Day refused to elaborate on COVID-19 rumors surrounding the program.
Alabama will be without center Landon Dickerson, which could be an issue against the Buckeyes defensive front. Dickerson won the Rimington Trophy as the best center in college football but is out for the season. He was missing for the Rose Bowl victory over Notre Dame, so the bright side is the new look offensive line does have some continuity. If Waddle is to play in the final, Dickerson is the main injury of note for the Crimson Tide.
Buckeyes to Cover
Ohio State is listed as a 9-point underdog, and that seems to be a really high spread. The Buckeyes have been at least six-point underdogs three times in the college football playoff era. They won each of those three games by a combined 50 points. It’s tough to know whether Ohio State can beat Alabama like they did back in 2015 on route to the championship, but keeping this game within one score certainly seems likely.
The Pick: Ohio State +9 (-112)
Things were reportedly bad enough that the idea of delaying the game was tossed around, but it appears all systems are a go for Monday night. Assuming the team isn’t missing a large group of players, the Buckeyes should be considered relatively healthy heading into the championship game.
Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields will declare for the NFL draft after the game, and is looking to go out with a bang. He out-dueled projected #1 pick Trevor Lawrence in the Sugar Bowl, racking up 385 yards passing and six touchdowns in the victory.
Most of those numbers came after suffering an injury due to an illegal tackle. It appeared Fields was grinding through a rib injury but he confirmed during his mid-week press conference he will be playing in the championship final.
As good as the Alabama receivers are, Fields is the best NFL prospect on the field for this game. If he can match his performance against Clemson, the Buckeyes could be in great position to pull off another upset.
Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The College Football Playoff National Championship
– It’s Ohio State playing against Alabama. They’re two of the mightiest of the mighty college football programs, and at the moment – along with Clemson – they’re part of the three teams going that can reasonably set the expectations at the unrealistic national-title-or-failure level going into each campaign.
And yet, these two – and their 25 claimed national championship between them – going at it almost seems like a bit of a twist.
This was the fourth appearance in the College Football Playoff for Ohio State, it’s the sixth trip to the tournament in seven chances for Alabama, and yet in the CFP the two only met in the classic 42-35 Buckeye Sugar Bowl semifinal win in 2015.
Overall, it’s only the fifth meeting all-time with Alabama holding a 3-1 lead.
– Alabama has been unstoppable. It’s Nick Saban’s finest offense yet with a Heisman-finalist-to-Heisman-winner passing combination of QB Mac Jones and WR DeVonta Smith to go along with a running back in Najee Harris who finished sixth in the voting. How good is this attack? Arguably the team’s best player – WR Jaylen Waddle; more on him in a moment – went down early with an ankle injury, and the machine kept on rolling.
The Tide geared down in the College Football Playoff semifinal against Notre Dame, scoring 14 points out of the gate and cruising from there.
In between that and a 38-19 win over Missouri to start the season, the Tide scored 41 or more in every other game, the defense has been terrific – outside of the 52-46 SEC Championship fight with Florida and a fight with Ole Miss – and everything is in place for Saban to win his seventh national championship as a head coach. However, his 2009 team was the only one that finished a season unbeaten.
– Can Ohio State gear up the energy, emotion, and attitude again? It waited a full year to get another crack at the College Football Playoff after losing in painful fashion to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl to end the 2019 season, and it played at a whole other level in the stunning 49-28 win in the Sugar Bowl.
Motivation can only carry a team so far – these Buckeyes have the talent, too.
Alabama might have the household, superstar names, but Ohio State has QB Justin Fields – who’s coming off his epic six-touchdown pass performance against Clemson – and it has every bit as much NFL talent as the team on the other side of the field.
The problem this year was continuity. The program could never get to 100% after a mediocre start, most of its offensive line was missing late in the year, and 22 players were out for the Big Ten Championship against Northwestern. The Clemson game was as close to normal as it’s been for these Buckeyes, and that’s the X factor in this year’s CFP.
We didn’t quite know what this team was capable of because we hadn’t seen it. It’s now all coming together at just the right time.
College Football Playoff National Championship
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