What we know about Ohio State football's next opponent: the Alabama Crimson Tide

Joe Harrington
Buckeye Xtra

The Ohio State football team defeated Clemson 49-28 in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 and will advance to the National Championship Game on Jan. 11 in Miami. 

And the Buckeyes will face Alabama when they get there.

The Crimson Tide, one of college football’s legendary programs, returns to the championship game for the fifth time since the playoff format was adopted in 2014. The Buckeyes and Alabama will meet for the second time in the CFP, but for the first time in the championship game. Alabama is seeking its third playoff title.

Alabama beat Notre Dame 31-14 in the Rose Bowl, which was played in Arlington, Texas, this season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Alabama, the No.1 seed, won the Southeastern Conference earlier this season. 

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The appearance in the national championship game appearance will be Ohio State's first since winning the title in 2014. 

Here’s what you need to know about Ohio State’s next opponent, the No.1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. 

Yep, Nick Saban: Still Alabama’s coach

Nick Saban, one of the greatest coaches in college football history, is in his 14th season as Alabama’s coach. He is currently 164-23 at Alabama since 2007. Saban, a Kent State graduate, is attempting to win seventh national championship and sixth at Alabama. 

Saban, 69, is 28 years older than Ohio State coach Ryan Day. 

Heisman Trophy finalists at Alabama

The Heisman Trophy will be awarded on Tuesday and there’s a decent chance someone from Alabama could win it. The Crimson Tide has two finalist for the awards, standout receiver DeVonta Smith and quarterback Mac Jones. 

Smith has been a highlight machine all season and finished the regular season with 98 receptions and 1,511 receiving yards. He caught 17 touchdowns. 

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Smith is trying to become the first receiver to win the Heisman since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991. 

Jones threw for 3,739 yards and 32 touchdowns with just four interceptions this season.    

Ohio State and Alabama matchup could be must-watch for recruits

Ohio State has the No. 2 recruiting class of 2021, according to 247 Sports, trailing only Alabama for the top spot. 

There are still players up for grabs in the class, including standout defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau from the Seattle area. He’s the No. 3-ranked player in the class and is considering both teams. 

Alabama lost to Ohio State last time they played in the CFP

Remember that? Ohio State fans sure do.

The Buckeyes were the No. 4 team in the first playoff but beat No.1 seed Alabama 42-35 in the Sugar Bowl. They went on to beat Oregon in the National Championship Game.

Photos:2015 Sugar Bowl: Ohio State 42, Alabama 35

What did Alabama do this season?

The Crimson Tide went 11-0 in the regular season, one in which they played only SEC teams. Alabama scored at least 38 or more points in every game and held three teams to three or fewer points. The Tide's 31 points against Notre Dame was its lowest total in 35 games.

Alabama beat Kentucky 63-3 in November, but they weren’t all blowout games. Florida lost to Alabama by just six points, 52-46, in the SEC championship game on Dec. 19.  

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