Before the NCAA college football season even began, it appeared doubtful that it could happen at all. Talks of canceling the season, postponing games and testing all the players multiple times a week brought on speculation that the season would not make it to the playoffs or potentially last more than a few weeks; however, with the Alabama Crimson Tide playing the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 National Championship Game, we can see that the NCAA had successfully kept a football season alive during challenging times.
After the regular season finished on Dec. 20, 2020, the pairing for the College Football Playoff (CFP) was determined: the number one seed Alabama would play number four seed Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl, and the number two seed Clemson would play number three seed Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. With these games set, only one thing remained that needed changing. Due to the state of the pandemic in California, the Rose Bowl broke from its traditional location and moved from its home in Pasadena, California to Arlington, Texas.
The Sugar Bowl game was the first of the playoff games held, and in this game the Crimson Tide beat the Fighting Irish 31-14. Alabama never trailed in this game as quarterback Mac Jones had an 83 percent completion rate throwing for 297 yards and completing four touchdown passes to give the Crimson Tide the win. Devante Smith caught three of these passes and, including his other catches, had seven receptions for a total of 130 yards.
The Rose Bowl was the second of the playoff games held, and in this game the Buckeyes beat the Tigers 49-28. All the scoring in the game came from touchdowns and extra points. Clemson took an initial 14-7 lead, but after this, they found themselves unable to retake the lead. Justin Fields completed 22 of his 28 passes and threw for 385 yards to give Ohio State the convincing win and send them to the National Championship game.
The 2021 National Championship took place on Jan. 11, 2021 as the number one Alabama Crimson Tide competed against the number three Ohio State Buckeyes. After scoring a touchdown on their opening drive, and regaining the lead twice after Ohio State tied the game, Alabama never fell behind in this game. Alabama quarterback Mac Jones threw for 464 yards and five touchdowns in the game. For the sixth time in the past 12 seasons, the Alabama Crimson Tide were the National Champions.
After the end of the game, speaking about winning the Championship game again, Alabama coach Nick Saban said, “To me this is the ultimate team. There is more togetherness on this team than on almost any team we’ve ever had. They’ve had to overcome and to persevere so much through this season, and they have done it magnificently.” While it is too early to know what will happen next season, Alabama is definitely a team to keep an eye on as they try to win their seventh Championship in the past 13 seasons.