A maddening, exhilarating, and exhausting college football season comes to its conclusion this evening when Alabama and Ohio State face off for the national title. Kickoff will be in the neighborhood of 8:00 on ESPN.
Tonight’s contestants are a combined 19-0 on the season and have taken very different paths to get to the same place. I think we can all agree that there was a time when we believed that college football would not be played this season. Or, if it was, that the season would come to a premature conclusion at some point during the proceedings.
Alabama used its superior depth and incredible veteran leadership on offense to plow through the SEC season. Ohio State by contrast looked for most of the summer and part of the fall as if it would not play football this season at all. Yet here the Buckeyes are, having completed a 5-0 regular season, gotten a begrudging waiver to play in the Big Ten title game, won that game by a whisker over Northwestern of all teams, and then punctuating things by disassembling Dabo Swinney’s Clemson Tigers.
As a squad Ohio State is almost certainly fresher than Alabama. However, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields specifically is not. Fields is almost certainly continuing to feel the rib injury he suffered against Clemson. While he was able to take advantage of some downfield one on ones against the Country Gentlemens’ secondary, I don’t think Ohio State has anyone who can reliably win battles against Patrick Surtain. That’s a problem.
I also suspect that the Buckeye offensive front won’t be able to gash the Tide front seven quote to the extent they did Dabo’s. The result in my estimation is likely to be a ten point Crimson Tide victory.
This will be the Open Thread for those who wish to comment as well. Thanks for sticking with us through a college football season unlike any other (we hope).