Many people thought that the day of the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship game would never come. Through all the serious effects and impact that COVID-19 would play into the fall semester, the 2020 College Football season was still able to finish. All the teams that took part in the 2020 season faced different obstacles when it came to adjusting to COVID-19. The Alabama Crimson Tide had many questions on and off-the-field that could potentially get in the way of their season.
This season, Alabama had one of the most dominant seasons in recent history. They did it with serious injuries and COVID-19 positive tests. This past Monday night, the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide soundly defeated the #3 Ohio State Buckeyes 52-24 in the title game. While several teams could be labeled as elite National Title teams, this season’s team might be the greatest in the history of the Alabama Crimson Tide program.
This 2020 Alabama team is the Greatest Tide Team in Program History
Alabama Endured COVID-19 and Distractions
This season has been tough for Alabama as they had to develop as a team while avoiding COVID-19. No team in the sport of college football had a Spring training session or Spring game. The SEC-only schedule was tough for Alabama as they didn’t play the underwhelming teams in the SEC East such as Vanderbilt and South Carolina. The team started a month late after serious doubts of it starting at all. Alabama experienced a ton of heat as their defense allowed a program-high 647 total yards in the 63-48 win over the Ole Miss Rebels. Two weeks later, Alabama suffered one of their toughest losses of the season. Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle suffered a broken ankle in the first play of the game in the 48-17 win over Tennessee. Several football experts said that the Tide’s chances for a National Championship were over.
The season didn’t get easier for Alabama as they went three weeks without playing a down of football due to the COVID-19 impact in Baton Rouge and the LSU Tigers. Two weeks later, Alabama played their first game without head coach Nick Saban since he took over in 2007 in the 2020 Iron Bowl against their rivals in the Auburn Tigers. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian took over as interim head coach while Saban was under quarantine with COVID-19. The Tide survived their closest game of the season in the 2020 SEC Championship game against the #7 Florida Gators. Alabama won with a score of 52-46. Even when Sarkisian accepted the head coaching position for the Texas Longhorns a week before the National Championship, he wanted to get Alabama their sixth National title in 12 seasons. Despite the many distractions and problems, Alabama still finished with a perfect record.
Alabama Had So Many Impactful and Dominant Players in 2020
While Saban and the coaching staff had a huge season, the players for the Tide were the main contributors. This season, Alabama had more award-winning players than any other team in the history of College Football. Mac Jones was the most efficient quarterback as he led the nation in quarterback rating (203.1) and completion percentage (77.4%). Jones won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Winner and the Davey O’Brien Award Winner. Running back Najee Harris won the Doak Walker Award as he rushed for 26 touchdowns, the most in the nation. The Tide had one of the most dominant offensive lines led by Outland Award-winning tackle Alex Leatherwood and Rimington Award-winning center Landon Dickerson. Several defensive players were crucial to Alabama’s season including the 2020 SEC Defensive Player of the year in Patrick Surtain II.
The 2020 college football season was highlighted by the elite performance of wide receiver DeVonta Smith. He won the Walter Camp Award, the Biletnikoff Award, the Maxwell Award, as well as the Heisman Memorial Trophy. Smith became the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991. His impact on the field was unmatched as he accounted for 117 receptions for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns. In the first half of the game against Ohio State, Smith caught 12 receptions for 215 yards and three touchdowns. This is one of the best post-Heisman Trophy-winning performance in College Football history.
Alabama Building for the Future
This is Alabama’s 18th total National Title and the 14th since the AP Poll era began. Alabama has won three College Football Playoff National Championship titles since the Playoff started in 2014. This dominant victory over the Buckeyes symbolizes the total dominance that this Alabama program has over the other elite and highly prestigious. Last season, Alabama was left out of the College Football Playoffs and their label as a dynasty was shed. That dynasty role is back as the Tide will be looking to repeat as National Champions. Many experts have already given Clemson and Georgia the role of the early favorites. Saban will look to lead his Tide again as the underdogs in the 2021 offseason and 2021 College Football season.