Familiar Champion in a Season of Surprises


The Athletic

Alabama coach Nick Saban celebrating his 7th National Championship victory with his players following their 52-24 win versus Ohio State.

Chris Carr, Contributing Writer

In a season and year full of changes, some things remain the same. One such constant is Alabama football: the team has claimed more than half of the national championships in the last 11 years, and this season was no different. 2020 marked Alabama coach Nick Saban’s seventh national championship victory, with six of them coming during his tenure at Alabama.

The Crimson Tide entered the college football playoffs as the number one seed after finishing with an undefeated regular season at 11-0. The number two seed was Dabo Swinney’s Clemson Tigers, who finished right behind them with a 10-1 record. Their lone loss came against the four seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish, as the Tigers had played without star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who is also the projected number one pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliot described Lawrence as: “the winningest quarterback in school history, he’s now been in the playoffs three years in a row, he’s won three ACC titles, he’s an unbelievable leader.” Lawrence is a familiar face to the Crimson Tide as the two played each other in the 2019 national championship, with Clemson coming out on top in a dominant performance: 44-16. Alabama was determined to avenge their loss this season. 

In the first round of the playoffs, the top-seeded Alabama Crimson Tide faced off against the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame put up a fight, but Alabama’s offense overpowered the team’s defense with nearly 300 passing yards and 140 rushing yards. The starpower on Alabama’s offense was evident as wide receiver DeVonta Smith totaled 130 yards and 3 touchdowns on 7 receptions. Additionally, quarterback Mac Jones threw for nearly 300 yards and 4 touchdowns and completed 25 of his 30 passes. Alabama’s great passing game paired with a career day from running back Najee Harris, who rushed for 125 yards on 15 carries.

The second game of the first round featured the Clemson Tigers and Ohio State Buckeyes. Ohio State was controversially selected by the CFP committee after only playing six regular season games due to Covid-19, while most teams played 12. However, the Buckeyes were able to pull off an upset victory against the Tigers 49-28. The Buckeyes held Clemson to their lowest scoring game all year with just 28 points. Ohio State dominated all game which allowed them to keep Trevor Lawrence and the Tigers offense off the field. While Lawrence will likely become the number one overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft, Ohio State Quarterback Justin Fields is likely to go number two and his stellar performance in this game helped his draft stock. Fields threw for an astounding 385 yards and 6 touchdowns and was helped by his running back Trey Sermon who ran for nearly 200 yards on the ground. 

Finally, after an exciting first round of games, the stage was set for the national championship game as the Alabama Crimson Tide would face off versus Ohio State Buckeyes. The Crimson Tide played one of the best first halves in college football playoff history as they scored 35 points while Ohio State trailed with just 17. Heisman winner DeVonta Smith broke records with his first half performance as he totaled over 200 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Smith is no stranger to making college football history. With his amazing season, Smith earned the Heisman Trophy, the award given to the most outstanding player in college football. Smith is just the fourth wide receiver to win the award and the first one since 1991. Hingham High Schooler Sam Peacock said, “Smith is easily the best player in college football and simply no one can stop him.”

Ultimately, Ohio State was not able to climb their way out of their first half deficit, and big plays from Alabama quarterback Mac Jones and running back Najee Harris led them to victory. The Crimson Tide put up an astonishing 52 points in the game, which was the most ever scored by Alabama in a national title game and the most in a Crimson Tide bowl game since 1953.

Hingham Middle School 7th grader Will Carr said, “When you score 52 points in a game like that, it’s impossible for the other team to win.” With this victory, Alabama won their 6th national championship in the past 11 years. The Crimson Tide victory proved that they cannot be stopped, no matter the circumstances, even the year of 2020 where college football was not even expected to be played this season. However, with a coach that has now won the most national titles in college football history and the top incoming recruiting class next year, Alabama is likely to repeat their success for years to come.