Alabama coach Nick Saban benched his starting quarterback at halftime of the College Football Playoff championship game with the Crimson Tide trailing Georgia 13-0. Would Ohio State coach Urban Meyer have done the same?

If you weren’t asking that question on Monday night, then Buckeye Nation requests you turn in your fan card.

Or maybe you did not ask because you already knew. Given the same situation there is no way Meyer sits J.T. Barrett in favor of Dwayne Haskins Jr. Proof? A similar scenario played out last season in the Fiesta Bowl national semifinal, when Ohio State trailed Clemson 17-0 at halftime.

Meyer did not pull Barrett then, when the Buckeyes needed to rev their passing attack to get back in the game, and would not have pulled the fifth-year QB against Georgia, much to the chagrin of Ohio State fans who deem Meyer too loyal to his three-year captain.  

One can only speculate what might have happened had Meyer pulled the plug on Barrett. At that point against Clemson, the backup option was redshirt freshman Joe Burrow.   

On the other hand, we know how things turned out for Alabama after Saban benched sophomore Jalen Hurts, who was 25-2 as a starter, for true freshman Tua Tagovailoa, who entered having completed just 35 of 53 passes all season. The Crimson Tide rallied after halftime to notch a 26-23 win in overtime, with Tagovailoa following a you-can’t-let-that-happen sack with a beautifully executed touchdown throw in overtime.

By being decisive — some would say ruthless — Saban further cemented his reputation as the best coach in college football. He considered the situation — ’Bama had stalled on offense under Hurts, who threw for just 21 yards on 3-of-8 passing the first half — and decided Tagovailoa gave the Tide the best option to win.

“I just thought we had to throw the ball in the game and I thought he could do it better, and he did,” Saban said, adding that Georgia’s defense limited Hurts’ strength as a runner.

Saban’s matter-of-fact evaluation shocked me. And not just me. Several of the college coaches assembled for ESPN’s Film Room during the game assumed, as I did, that Hurts must have been injured for Saban to make such a radical move. Raise your hand if you thought the same. Who benches a 25-2 starting QB at halftime in the biggest game of the season?

Pitting Saban’s decision against what Meyer might have done is no exact comparison. Barrett’s experience as a four-year starter afforded him more benefit of the doubt than what Hurts received. Barrett also is a better passer than Hurts, although not significantly.

Still, one has to wonder: Could Meyer have pulled the trigger? True, he played Cardale Jones ahead of Barrett to begin the 2015 season, but that is not the same as getting the hook at halftime of a championship game.

Coaching requires an ability to show patience and loyalty even while remaining emotionally inert enough to make cold-blooded calculations. Meyer does not lack those qualities — you don’t compile an .851 career winning percentage without them — but Saban possesses them in spades.

It also occurs that in the delicacy of pulling an entrenched quarterback it helps when the coach works more with the defense, as Saban does, rather than with offense, like Meyer.

Defensive-minded coaches (and perhaps Saban especially) maintain an emotional distance from their quarterbacks, which makes it easier to bench them when necessary. Against Georgia, it was necessary. The drastic decision appeared risky to many of us, and would have gone down as a panic move if ’Bama had lost.

But Saban saw something else. No guts, no glory.