Roll Tide!

Alabama 52 Ohio State 24

Jim Rome
January 12, 2021 - 9:16 am
Nick Saban

USA Today

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Saying that something sucks is not a take, but let me say this about last night’s national championship game: that sucked. If you were hoping for a competitive game in the college football playoff, you got jammed again. 

Alabama 52
Ohio State 24 

Everyone showed up expecting a track meet, but a boat race broke out. Let’s get one thing out of the way early: I know Ohio State was missing a number of players. But they could’ve had those guys on the field last night and they weren’t winning.  They could have had everyone in perfect health and played their best game, but their best wasn’t beating Alabama’s best. 

Because that’s just how good Alabama was last night and the entire season. For years now, college football has been Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and everyone else. This year, it was Alabama and everyone else.

No matter who you were and what your team did, if you thought you had a chance against this Alabama team, you’re begging. Texas A&M? You got stomped 52-24. Georgia? Have a 17 point loss. Auburn? Take a seat and fire your coach. Florida? Nice try.

Remember when everyone watched Alabama beat Notre Dame by 17 and then questioned whether ND belonged in the playoff? Suddenly, losing by 17 looks like a major accomplishment when Ohio State gets blasted by 28.

This Alabama team was so dominant that Notre Dame holding them to 31 was the lowest output all season. And that game was never close. That’s absurd. That’s just stupid

And so was last night. Completely stupid and utterly absurd.

This is an Ohio State that smashed Clemson a week and a half ago. And they spent the entire night grasping at air and trying to make the game respectable.

About the only thing normal in a completely surreal world these days is Alabama winning another national title. And this one looked easier than most. There was absolutely nothing the Buckeyes could do to stop Alabama’s offense.

Mac Jones did what he wanted. Najee Harris did what he wanted. Devonta Smith did what he wanted.

There was the Harris 1 touchdown that was a genius play design carried out by incredible players.

And there was the Smith TD that ended the game in the first half.

I could go on, but I can’t. Because I can’t play all the Alabama touchdowns in this segment, I’d run out of time. And again, this was against a good Ohio State team. Last night isn’t a reflection on Ohio State, just like the semifinal wasn’t a reflection on Notre Dame, just like the SEC championship game wasn’t a reflection of Florida, or any of the games this season were about anything other than Alabama.

It didn’t matter who was on the field, they were, to quote JuJu Smith-Schuster, “nameless gray faces” compared to Alabama.  

And of course a game like that was going to inspire the ultimate bar-gument: is this the best team in college football history? And normally, that’s the dumbest argument in college football history. Because usually when people ask that question, the answer is no. 

Mac Jones let the world know what he thinks: "I think we’re the best team to ever play. There’s no team that will ever play an SEC schedule like that again."

We can debate just how good the SEC was this year, but you can’t debate the fact that this team went undefeated in a pandemic and almost none of the games were close.

Is this the greatest college football team ever? I have no idea. And neither do you. No one does. Could this Alabama team beat the Tommy Frazier Nebraska teams? Who knows? And I’m not going to get into some sort of a breakdown of how Nick Saban would scheme it up against Knute Rockne. I’m not even going to try to talk about how 2020 Alabama would do against the Reggie Bush-Matt Leinart USC teams.

But I have no problem saying this. This is something we can say with certainty: this isn’t some made for TV, contrived bullcrap to get reaction: Nick Saban is the greatest coach in college football history. 7 national titles. Six in his fourteen years at Alabama. This was supposed to be the era of parity in college football. The proliferation of college football on television was supposed to level the playing field and mean that more programs had more shots at being elite.

And the Nicktator has absolutely smashed that idea into a thousand pieces. He doesn’t just have six titles in 14 years at Alabama, he has six in the last 12 years. It’s a coin flip every year – heads Alabama wins a title, tails they come this close to winning a title.

That kind of dominance doesn’t happen. At least, it’s not supposed to happen. Not in college football, with teenagers playing, and with guys going to the league every year. And yet the joyless wonder is doing it year in and year out and pretending like he’s absolutely miserable while he does it.

So while I’m not going to waste time debating whether we just saw the greatest team in college football history, I will say this: it’s Nick Saban’s best team ever.

And if you’re Nick Saban’s best team ever, you’ve got a pretty good look at the greatest college team ever.

And it is definitely Nick Saban’s best team ever. And I’m not even sure it’s close. He has six rings at Alabama and one at LSU. And it says here this Alabama team would beat every one of the other six national champions he’s coached. Even Nick would admit that.

"To me this team accomplished more than almost any team. No disrespect to other teams we had but this team won 11 SEC games. No other team has done that. They won the SEC and went undefeated in the SEC and then they beat two great teams in the playoffs with no break.

Sure, the defense isn’t the best he’s had, but the offense is. And that’s not close. And the crazy thing about this team, isn’t just that they did all this during a pandemic, it’s that they weren’t supposed to be this good.

Last year, Joe Burrow and LSU destroyed college football. They set the gold standard for offensive football. And months later, Alabama was nearly a replica of them. And instead of having one Heisman candidate, the Tide had three inside the top five this year.

And they did it with a quarterback who wasn’t supposed to be the guy and a wide receiver who wasn’t supposed to be the guy either. Nobody was thinking Mac Jones was going to lead the most electric offense in Alabama history when he showed up in Tuscaloosa. And everybody thought the Tide offense was going to stagnate when Jaylen Waddle was injured, but thanks to Devonta Smith, it actually got better.

Smith was so good last night, he’s getting his own take today, but suffice it to say, that is one of the freakiest, scariest dudes I’ve ever seen on the field. And if everything went to plan this year, he would’ve been the number two wide receiver in this offense.

Alabama winning a national title is the most predictable thing ever. Remember, it’s a coin flip every year for more than a decade. But Alabama winning this national title, the way they did, in a pandemic, was the most unpredictable thing ever. The dynasty was supposed to be over. And yet it’s still here, and stronger than ever. And a big hat tip to the nictator: no one’s better. And no one’s more miserable.