Crimson Tide Rolls in Miami: Takeaways from the NCAA Football Championship

The 2020-2021 NCAA Division I Football season will go down as one of the most unusual in history, with its abbreviated schedules, postponed games, and of course, absence of fans. As this unprecedented season comes to an end, a familiar team sits on the Division I college football throne: the Alabama Crimson Tide. This year’s title adds to the program’s extensive trophy cabinet, bringing its total of national crowns to eighteen. After another undefeated season, capped off by a commanding 52-24 win over the Ohio State Buckeyes, it’s safe to say that this Alabama Team deserves to be in the running for the greatest in college football history. 

On January 11, 2021 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida, Alabama faced off against Ohio State in a highly anticipated National Championship game. The game ultimately came down to the team with the strongest offense. Ohio State matched Alabama’s strong offense for most of the first half; however, after the team’s star running-back Trey Sermon suffered a shoulder injury on the first play of the game, the Buckeyes did not have the offensive firepower to compete. Justin Fields, the Ohio State quarterback, could not recreate his magical performance against Clemson in the Semi-Finals just ten days before, struggling against an Alabama defense that was firing on all cylinders. Held back by an injury sustained in the semifinal against Clemson, Fields did not perform to the best of his ability. In the end, a dazzling Alabama offense, consisting of Mac Jones, Devonta Smith, and Najee Harris, was too much for Ohio State to handle; it scored 28 points in the second quarter and racked up 621 scrimmage yards. Looking back, the Ohio State defense couldn’t stop Alabama’s rolling offense, which scored touchdowns on seven out of their 11 total drives.

Major Takeaways From the National Championship Game:

1. Devonta Smith proved that he is the best player in college football and deserves the Heisman Award.

I don’t think the numbers do justice to just how good Devonta Smith truly is. This year, in what can be seen as a breakout season for the young star, Smith caught 105 passes for 20 touchdowns. Devonta delivered one of the most dominant performances by a receiver in college football history. He caught a College Football Playoff (CFP) Title Game record of 12 passes for 215 yards and three touchdowns, which also tied the record for most touchdowns by a receiver in a CFP Title Game. Keep in mind, Devonta Smith did all of that in the first half, as he suffered a minor injury in the early third-quarter and subsequently left the game. Based on Smith’s stellar performance in this game and throughout the season, there is no doubt that he should be a top-five pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. 

2. Nick Saban is the greatest college football coach of all time.

Saban put on an offensive clinic against the Buckeyes, putting up 621 total yards, and out-playing opposition coach Ryan Day in pretty much every aspect of the game. With this 7th National Title, Saban now holds the record for most National Titles won by a head coach. At Alabama, Saban has a winning percentage of 0.881, with a bowl game record of 14-5. To put it in perspective, if Saban had only coached at Alabama, he would have the second best winning percentage in 150 years of college football. With another perfect season and a National Title under his belt, it is clear that Nick Saban is the greatest college football coach of all time.

3. Justin Fields showed promise and should still be the #2 QB prospect for the NFL Draft.

Fields’ performance was far from what Ohio State needed in order to win the game, but it’s important to understand that Fields was playing through a hip pointer injury. Although the Championship game wasn’t his best performance, Fields proved that he doesn’t throw many interceptions and makes the right decisions under pressure. The arm talent and accuracy under pressure that he displayed throughout this season should rank him as the #2 quarterback prospect in the NFL Draft.