“It’s going to be Clemson vs Alabama again.” WRONG. Just about every college football fan in the nation thought we were going down another path that saw the Clemson Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide going head-to-head for the title for the fourth time since the 2015 season. But that proved to be incorrect and instead it will be the Crimson Tide matching up against the Ohio State Buckeyes.
The Crimson Tide are in the championship game for the fifth time in the seventh year of the College Football Playoff era and Nick Saban is looking to win his seventh overall national championship. It would be his sixth with Alabama. Ohio State hasn’t played in the title game since the 2014 season, when they beat the Oregon Ducks 42-20 in the first ever College Football Playoff Championship game. Now they are back on the big stage and will certainly have their hands full.
There were a lot of critics that were upset that Ohio State received a playoff berth after only playing a six-game season and the Big 10 bent a rule to get them into the conference championship game. But the Buckeyes hushed those critics with a massive blowout win against the Clemson Tigers where Justin Field battled through an injury to throw for a Sugar Bowl record six touchdown passes and torch the Tigers 49-28.
Alabama easily defeated Notre Dame 31-14 with star wide receiver and Heisman winner Devonta Smith reeling in three touchdown catches and running back Najee Harris rushing for 125 yards on only 15 carries. The Tide held Notre Dame to just seven points before a garbage time touchdown with less than a minute to play in the game, which validated the concerns of several critics that Notre Dame didn’t deserve to be one of the final four teams.
While this isn’t the matchup we thought we would see, it should be incredibly entertaining and very fun to watch. These are two offenses that at times can seemingly score at will. Alabama has the second-ranked scoring offense in the nation averaging over 48 points per game while Ohio State is fifth at over 43 points per game. On defense, it’s another story as the Tide rank 32nd in yards allowed per game while Ohio State ranks 41st. as both allow over 350 yards per game. For two teams playing for the national championship, those aren’t very impressive defensive numbers and certainly not up to par for previous Alabama championship teams.
Alabama opened this game as a seven-point favorite, but we assume it will be a close game throughout. The biggest advantage in this game will go to Alabama’s passing offense as it will try to take advantage of a Buckeyes pass defense that is ranked 116th in the nation and is allowing over 280 yards per game through the air.
The last time these two played was way back in the inaugural CFP Semi-Final round, with Ohio State winning 42-35 and advancing to the Championship Game. You better believe that Nick Saban hasn’t forgotten that contest and will make sure that his players won’t forget what happened either. There is no better coach in these games than Saban and it should be excellent to watch.