The Shadow League’s College Football Playoff National Championship Preview

The 2021 CFP National Championship Game features the Alabama Crimson Tide (12-0) and Ohio State Buckeyes (7-0).

Alabama became the first team in SEC history to win 10 conference games in a season, it’s actually 11 if you add their SEC Title game win over the Gators. They then handled the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (31-14) in a business-like win in the CFP semis in the Rose Bowl.

They average 48.2 points per game led by junior quarterback Mac Jones who’s leads the nation in passing efficiency with 36 touchdown passes and just 4 interceptions. He won the Davey O’Brien Award (Best QB In CFB) and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. He also finished third in the Heisman race.

In fact, Alabama had 3 players finish in the top 5 of the Heisman race (DeVonta Smith, Mac Jones and Najee Harris) for the first since Army did it in 1946.

Najee Harris carries the mail and was the Doak Walker Award (Best RB In CFB) winner. He’s also a dual-threat as a great pass-catching back out of the backfield.

DeVonta Smith won the Heisman Trophy and took a total of 8 postseason awards home this season. He’s looking for a repeat of his 2018 title game performance as he plays his final collegiate game before entering the NFL. 

Possibly getting speedster Jaylen Waddle back for the title game gives them even more weaponry at their disposal. With the early departures of the talented Tua Tagovailoa, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs to the NFL after last season, I thought the offense would take a step back. Boy was I wrong. This offense is even better and it starts with the play of “Mac Attack” Jones.

The defense isn’t your typical dominant Nick Saban stifling and suffocating defense. In fact, it’s more of a bend-but-don’t-break scheme now.

READ MORE: CFB Rivalry: Will Nick Saban Continue His Mastery Versus Former Assistants?

Although they’ve played better as the season has gone on they’ve been shredded a few times but managed to make enough stops to still get the win. But this offense has just been UNSTOPPABLE, basically allowing the defense to be solid but not great. Christian Barmore, Willie Anderson, Dylan Moses and Patrick Surtain are the guys on that side of the ball.

Also, a true freshman named Malachi Moore reminds me of a young Minkah Fitzpatrick. Fitz, a Pittsburgh Steelers safety, was a huge factor in BAMA’s 2015 title run as a true frosh himself.

The Buckeyes are coming into this title game at 7-0 due to COVID-19 cancellations and the Big Ten starting its season late. Despite the lack of games, this team is talented and belongs in the title clash.

READ MORE: For First Time In 103 Years Archrivals Ohio State And Michigan Won’t Play

Led by dual-threat quarterback Justin Fields, fresh off a 6-TD in their (42-28) win over the Clemson Tiger, Ohio State matches Alabama at the QB position. 

After taking a devastating hit in the semifinals, Fields persevered and showed the grit necessary to take his team to and win a title. Oklahoma transfer Trey Sermon is a strong running back. 

Outside, Fields has stud wideout Chris Olave who’s a great route runner and can fly. In the semifinal win over the Tigers, head coach Ryan Day utilized his tight ends, much to the chagrin of the Clemson defense who was not prepared for something they hadn’t seen the Buckeyes use all year.

On defense, they’re big and physical with Garrett Haskell, Jonathan Cooper, Tuf Borland and Shaun Wade as their main guys on that side of the ball. They play fast and furious but have been susceptible to giving up the big play often this season. But there’s no denying their talent at every level of the defense.

A lot of anticipation for this one and with good reason as we rarely get to see two powerhouse programs with the history these two possess face-off. Should be tons of fun and extremely competitive.

In the end, I like the Tide to win 41- 34 and bring Nick Saban his 6th National Championship in 8 attempts at BAMA and 7th overall breaking the tie with the great Paul “Bear” Bryant.

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