College Football Playoff national championship reaction: Smith goes out on top for Alabama

Devonta Smith of the Alabama Crimson Tide
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Ricky Dimon

NCAAF · 1 year ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

As expected, Alabama cruised past a banged-up Ohio State squad 52-24 to capture the national title on Monday night. It was an appropriate end to a College Football Playoff that featured zero competitive games and an appropriate end to a 2020 season in which the Crimson Tide were the best team from start to finish.

If the Buckeyes (8-point underdogs) had a small chance going into the night, they basically had no chance after the very first drive of the game. Star running back Trey Sermon, who went crazy in the Big Ten Championship against Northwestern and the Sugar Bowl semifinal against Clemson, exited after just a single carry with a collarbone injury.

Of course, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway because Ohio State was not going to score 52 points with or without Sermon. The underdogs simply had no answer for Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, and that’s the understatement of the century. Smith ran absolute circles around the Buckeyes’ defense, making 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns — all in the first half — before leaving with an apparent broken finger. Smith, Najee Harris (two rushing touchdowns), and Mac Jones (464 passing yards, five touchdowns) made it look easy all night long. They benefited from some nice calls by outgoing offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, but as an Atlanta Falcons fan I can promise you Alabama’s success on offense had a lot more to do with player personnel than it did with Sarkisian.


The NFL beckons for Crimson Tide Trio

Speaking of the NFL, that is exactly where Smith, Harris, and Jones are going this spring.

Monday’s festivities took place in Miami and Smith may want to just stay there following the celebration. After all, the star receiver is likely to channel his inner LeBron James and take his talents to South Beach. The Miami Dolphins own the No. 3 overall pick and both the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets are in play for quarterbacks. If the Jets and Jaguars go in the franchise QB direction, Smith will be there for the Dolphins and it would be a perfect fit. He has the Alabama connection with Tua Tagovailoa (heck, they even hooked up for the title-clinching touchdown in overtime against Georgia three years ago!) and the ‘Fins are in desperate need of some offensive weapons.

Harris looks like an obvious first-rounder, and Jones — who finished third in the Heisman voting — may have played his way into the late first round. The senior signal-caller was outstanding the whole way in 2020, but he was at his absolute best when it mattered most in the SEC Championship, the Rose Bowl semifinal, and the National Championship (14 touchdowns, one interception in those three games).

College football national championship odds for next season

The three best teams in the nation this season — with a big gap after Alabama at the top, of course — are all losing their quarterbacks to graduation and/or the NFL. Nonetheless, ‘Bama, Clemson, and Ohio State are once again the favorites in 2021. The Crimson Tide have opened as +300 favorites (DraftKings) to repeat, followed by the Tigers at +350 and the Buckeyes at +400. Oklahoma is a +800 fourth choice thanks in part to quarterback Spencer Rattler, who is a +300 favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. Bryce Young is a +400 second choice.

Who is Bryce Young, you might ask? Well, he took the final snap of Monday’s game for Alabama. Yes, the rich just keep on getting richer.

Pickswise is your home for the best free college football previews and predictions. Make sure to check out our NCAAF Picks page when the 2021 season begins!

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