By Chris Carlson: The time has come to crown a National Title Champion as two blue blood College Football programs lock horns to find out who’s #1. Much of the debate heading into the National Semifinals centered on whether or not Ohio State should be ranked higher than Cincinnati. The Bearcats were ranked too low regardless of the fact the rankings committee were correct on the Buckeyes getting in to the playoff. Enough with that stuff let’s get right into some of the items that will be crucial heading into Monday night’s game.
Alabama will be going for their 6 th title under head coach Nick Saban and this year’s team is as strong as ever especially on the offensive side of the ball. It’s incredible to see a normally run heavy squad averaging 349 yards passing per game. But don’t get it twisted Alabama RB Najee Harris has 24 rushing touchdowns at 6.1 a pop. Bama’s defense may not be as stout as normal to be fair Florida and Ole Miss have high- powered offensive capabilities & pass happy systems not normally seen in the SEC. All and all this team stacks up basically with any team during Saban’s run. Yes QB Mac Jones isn’t as versatile as Tua but we can’t take much away from the WR’s room and O- line.
On the Ohio State side of things one could make the argument the overall depth is not as good as last year’s Buckeye’s. Cornerback is the biggest difference with the departure of Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette. The D-ends for Ohio State definitely got home versus Clemson but they don’t have the services Chase Young. This is not an excuse but maybe a reason why the Buckeyes didn’t look all that menacing throughout the shortened season. On offense Ohio State has a great QB in Justin Fields and weapons on the outside but there bread and butter in the last two outings has been a heaping of RB Trey Sermon.
In a one-game scenario picking Justin Fields over Mac Jones isn’t a difficult decision based off big game experience and the run/pass ability. The constant throttling that Ohio State received from the media had to have helped motivate a team that had yet to play its best game. In order for the Buckeyes to win they will have to look like the team that got up 35-7 on Indiana and a dominate performance over Clemson. If the same Ohio State club plays as they did allowing the Hoosiers to comeback and the large chunk of the Northwestern Big Ten Championship Bama will win going away. It’s almost unbelievable the over/under is set at 75.5 but who would be shocked it went over?
Alabama will surely look to run the ball more to slow down and dampen the effect Ohio State’s edge rushers had with Clemson. And of course Ohio State will try to stick to the run to keep that high-potent Bama ‘O’ on the sidelines. The Buckeyes do stop the run better statically but we must put who they played into the formula. Turnovers and redzone defense will be the main keys to which team helps out their offenses more.
This podcaster believes that Ohio State will hang with Alabama but fall short in the end beyond sneaking under the point spread.
The Pick: Alabama 38 Ohio State 30
Written by Chris Carlson Host of The College Ball Show Podcast available
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