Can Ohio State upset Alabama and win the national championship?


It doesn’t take much acuity to notice the abundance of college football prognosticators who are choosing Alabama to win the national college football championship over Ohio State on Monday. 

It also doesn’t take much study to know why they feel that way.   Not only has Alabama ruled the rankings since midseason but the Tide also ruled the stat sheets in ways that Buckeye fans could only dream.

Alabama’s stat rankings were  better in completion percentage (1st vs OSU 2nd), converting third downs (1st vs OSU 6th), defensive touchdowns (1st vs OSU 7th), red zone offense (9th vs OSU 100th), red zone defense (15th vs OSU 54th),  turovers (13th vs OSU 47th), defensive yards per play (19th vs OSU 62nd), tackles for loss, sacking opposing quarterbacks, offensive yards per play, and others.

I ran both offensive lines through the Savvy offensive line evaluation system and discovered that Alabama’s OL is  much stronger than Ohio State’s especially when it comes to dealing with pressure.  That issue is compounded by the Tide’s pressure defense being better than the that of the Buckeyes.

Although both have stars at quarterback, Alabama’s Mac Jones has improved his performance in 2020 whereas Ohio State’s Justin Fields has dropped noticeably.  And, Alabama has DeVonta Smith who is the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy in the past two decades.

Indeed, the Tide displays many advantages but the Savvy Index shows performance trends that suggest Ohio State should perform well, perhaps enough to upset the mighty Tide. 

Why?

Well, despite Alabama posting twice as many postive trends per week  through the regular season, it is Ohio State that produced net-positive trends in December whereas Alabama produced net-negatives, an uncommon trait for a team that has dominated college football.

In other words, Alabama may have dominated the season but it is Ohio State that has recently been the hotter team.

Savvy Index still sides with the Tide in a projected 41-31 win but that prediction is more precarious than usual because of OSU’s momentum. 

It’s hard to know if those December trends will be enough for Ohio State to upend the Tide, but the chance of upset is greater than usual and that adds even more view-value to a game that was already well worth watching. 


  Savvy Index   2020    
  Championship Game        
  regular season predictions:        
top 25 410 – 129     76% wins losses game value  
2 Ohio St. 7 0 31 01/11/21
1 Alabama 12 0 41 Championship game
           

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