The Crimson Tide faces the Ohio State Buckeyes for the national title tonight.
Alabama takes the field following a year marked by COVID-19 and the Heisman Trophy. Tide star DeVonta Smith is the first wide receiver since 1991 to win the award for best college football player. The coronavirus sidelined Coach Nick Saban for one game and forced the LSU Tigers to postpone a November game.
As for tonight's match-up, Saban said Ohio State proved they were a good team when they defeated Clemson in the Sugar Bowl.
“They were physical upfront, they did a good job of pressing the pocket,” Saban said. “They have a lot of good athletes on defense. They’re physical, they’re athletic, and they can run. They play well together. This was a very talented group.”
The pocket is where the offensive line protects the quarterback. This game marks the first time the Tide and the Buckeyes have met since the 2015 Sugar Bowl. Ohio State beat Alabama and then went onto to defeat the Oregon Ducks for the title. Saban said past history is meaningless, and what counts is what’s going on right now.
“What you do today and everyday leading up to this game to prepare yourself to play the best that you’re going to play, assuming the guy you’re going to play against is the best guy you’ve played against all year,” Saban said.
Tonight’s title game starts at 7 p.m. at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. That’s where former Alabama players Tua Tagovailoa and Raekwon Davis play for the Miami Dolphins.
Along with this year’s Heisman Trophy, Tide player Mac Jones collected the Johnny Unitas Award for best college quarterback.