COLLEGE FOOTBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME NOTES
(OHIO STATE SI)
Head Coach: Ryan Day
Record at Ohio State: 23-1
Career Record: Same
Career vs. Alabama: 0-0
Head Coach: Nick Saban
Record at Alabama: 164-23 (14th)
Career Record: 255-65-1 (25th)
Career vs. Ohio State: 2-2
Ohio State and Alabama meet in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship game Monday, Jan. 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. (EST) on ESPN. Ohio State is 7-0 overall and is coming off a CFP semifinal win over Clemson, 49-28, Jan. 1 in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Alabama is 12-0 and fresh off a 31-14 victory over Notre Dame in the CFP semifinal at the Rose Bowl, a game that was played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Ohio State is 3-2 all-time in its four CFP appearances (2015, 2017, 2019, 2021). Alabama is 7-3 in the CFP and has been in six of the seven playoffs. Ohio State won the initial CFP in 2014-15, defeating No. 1 Alabama, 42-35, in the Allstate Sugar Bowl and No. 2 Oregon, 42-20, in the championship game at AT&T Stadium. It was the school’s eighth national championship. Ohio State head coach Ryan Day has guided the program into consecutive CFP appearances for the first time in school history. The Buckeyes are 23-1 overall under Day, including a 10-1 record against AP Top 25 ranked teams and a 5-1 mark vs. Top 10 teams.
Ohio State is seeking national championship No. 9 in this, its 131st season of football:
2014 CFP – 14-1 (Urban Meyer)
2002 BCS – 14-0 (Jim Tressel)
1970 NFF – 9-1 (Woody Hayes)
1968 AP – 10-0 (Woody Hayes)
1961 FWAA – 8-0-1 (Woody Hayes)
1957 Coaches/FWAA – 9-1 (Woody Hayes)
1954 AP – 10-0 (Woody Hayes)
1942 AP – 9-1 (Paul Brown)
Ohio State is playing in its fifth national championship game – CFP or BCS – in the last 19 years:
2020 – CFP Ohio State vs. Alabama
2015 – CFP Ohio State 42, Oregon 20
2008 – BCS LSU 38, Ohio State 24
2007 – BCS Florida 41, Ohio State 14
2002 – BCS Ohio State 31, Miami 24 2OT
Ohio State is 25-26 all-time in bowl and post-season games. Ohio State is 63-27 all-time in night games, including a 48-22 record in away games and at neutral sites. The Buckeyes are 22-13-3 all-time vs. current members of the SEC. The program has 39 Big Ten championships. f 931 all-time wins are second all-time in FBS history. 84 first-round NFL Draft picks rank No. 1 all-time. f Ohio State is second nationally with 22 National Football Foundation Scholar Athletes. The program has produced 88 unanimous or consensus All-Americans.
Alabama became the first team in SEC history to go 10-0 against conference foes in the regular season this year and had the fifth undefeated regular season under head coach Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide won each of its 10 regular season games by 15 or more points before a 52-46 win over Florida in the SEC championship game. Alabama topped Notre Dame, 31-17, in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 in Arlington, Texas. The Crimson Tide’s offense features two Heisman Trophy finalists: QB Mac Jones and WR DeVonta Smith. Among Alabama’s top defensive players is CB Patrick Surtain II, a finalist for the Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back. f Alabama head coach Nick Saban has plenty of Ohio ties: he was the Buckeyes’ defensive backs coach from 1980-81 under Earl Bruce and later the head coach at Toledo for one year in 1990. From 1991- 94, he served as the Cleveland Browns’ defensive coordinator. Saban was 2-1 against Ohio State while the head coach at Michigan State from 1995-99 and is 0-1 against the Buckeyes at Alabama.
Ryan Day’s Ohio State Buckeyes are 10-1 vs. Top 25 ranked teams and 5-1 vs. Top 10 teams:
vs. No. 2 Clemson – W, 49-28
vs. No. 14 Northwestern – W, 22-10
vs. No. 9 Indiana – W, 42-35
at No. 18 Penn State – W, 38-25
vs. No. 3 Clemson – L, 23-29
vs. No. 10 Wisconsin – W, 34-21
at No. 10 Michigan – W, 56-27
vs. No. 9 Penn State – W, 28-17
vs. No. 13 Wisconsin – W, 38-7
vs. No. 25 Michigan State – W, 34-10
vs. No. 15 TCU – W, 40-28
2020 Record/SEC Record 12-0/10-0
CFP/AP/Amway Coaches Poll 1/1/1
Head Coach Nick Saban
Record at Alabama (Years) 169-23 (14th)
Career Record (Years) 260-65-1 (25th)
Overall: Fifth Meeting (Alabama leads, 3-1) At Neutral Sites: Alabama leads, 3-1 Current Streak: Ohio State, Won 1 Last Meeting: Jan. 1, 2015 – CFP Semifi nal – Sugar Bowl (L, 35-42) Series Notes: Alabama and Ohio State will meet for the fi fth time overall and the second time in the history of the College Football Playoff. The Crimson Tide holds a 3-1 lead in the series with the Buckeyes’ lone win coming in the most recent meeting. The two programs squared off in the CFP Semifi nal at the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 2015, with OSU claiming a 42-35 win on the way to becoming the eventual national champions. Alabama head coach Nick Saban is 2-2 in his career against Ohio State, including a 2-1 record at Michigan State. OSU head coach Ryan Day has not faced Alabama.
TOUGH TO GET SABAN’S TIDE TWICE: During his tenure at Alabama, head coach Nick Saban has suffered 23 total losses. Of those 23 losses, the Crimson Tide and Saban have had the opportunity to face the team that beat them at a later date on 20 occasions. In those 20 rematches, Alabama owns an 18-2 mark when avenging its previous loss. The only two times the Crimson Tide has fallen in back-to-back games against the same opponent is LSU (2010-2011) and Ole Miss (2014-2015). Alabama has not had the opportunity to bounce back from a loss against Clemson (2018) and Utah (2009). The 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game will pit the Crimson Tide against Ohio State, who defeated UA when the two teams last met in 2014. So far this season, the Tide avenged a 2019 loss at Auburn with a dominant 42-13 win on Nov. 28, 2020, and followed that up with an even more impressive win one week later at LSU by a score of 55-17 to bounce back from a 2019 loss to the Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
SABAN VS. THE B1G TEN: Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban is a combined 31-17-1 (.643) in 49 career games against Big Ten opponents. That record includes a 23-15-1 mark at Michigan State, a 1-1 record at LSU and a 7-1 record while at Alabama.
SABAN VS. NON-CONFERENCE FOES: Alabama head coach Nick Saban owns an impressive 92-20 (.821) career mark against non-conference opponents across his four stops as a collegiate head coach. Saban’s career total includes a 61-7 (.897) record while in Tuscaloosa, a number that includes only two losses to non-conference opponents during the regular season, both of which came in 2007 (14-21 vs. Florida State (Jacksonville) and 14-21 vs. ULM).
BEATING THE BEST: The Crimson Tide is 65-17 (.793) against the Associated Press Top 25 since the start of 2008. Alabama is 5-0 against the Top 25 this season, including a 41-24 win over then-No. 3 Georgia on Oct. 17; a 52-24 win over then-No. 13 Texas A&M on Oct. 3; a 42-13 victory in the Iron Bowl against then-No. 22 Auburn; a 52-46 win over then-No. 11 Florida in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 19; and most recently a 31-14 victory in the College Football Playoff Semifinal over No. 4 Notre Dame on New Year’s Day. The Tide finished 2-2 against ranked opponents in 2019, one year removed from going 5-1 against ranked opponents in 2018. Alabama was tasked with a gauntlet schedule in 2017 that featured 10 teams ranked in the AP Poll, going 9-1 and outscoring those opponents by an average score of 38.0-17.3.
AGAINST THE TOP 10: Alabama owns an 81-77-1 all-time record against teams ranked in the top-10 of the Associated Press Poll. Among the 114 teams who have squared off with top-10 opponents at least 10 times in their program’s history, the Crimson Tide is the only one with a winning record. Since the start of the 2008 season, the Crimson Tide has posted a 32-11 (.744) overall record against top-10 teams, including a 17-5 (.773) mark versus the top 10 since the inception of the College Football Playoff. In Saban’s five national championship seasons at Alabama, his teams have gone 17-2 against top-10 opponents.
ALABAMA vs. AP TOP 25 IN 2020: Following the Jan. 1 win over No. 4 Notre Dame in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl, Alabama became the only team in the country with five wins against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 at the time of kickoff. The Crimson Tide also has four wins against teams ranked in the final iteration of the AP poll heading into bowl season. In addition, Alabama is the only team in the nation with four wins against teams currently in the AP Top 11. The Crimson Tide first defeated then-No. 13 Texas A&M, 52-24, in Tuscaloosa on Oct. 3 before taking down then-No.3 Georgia, 41-24, two weeks later at Bryant-Denny Stadium and then-No. 11 Florida, 52-46, in Atlanta. Most recently, UA defeated the Fighting Irish 31-14 in Arlington, Texas.
ALABAMA IN THE AP POLL: Alabama’s No. 1 ranking in the Dec. 20 Associated Press Top 25 Poll marked the 212th consecutive week that the Crimson Tide has appeared in the poll. That streak is the longest active streak in college football. The 212 weeks more than doubles second-place Clemson with the Tigers appearing in the poll for 101 consecutive weeks. Ohio State previously held the second-longest streak behind the Crimson Tide but did not appear in the Week 2 iteration of the poll. Prior to their absence, the Buckeyes had appeared in the AP rankings for 132 straight weeks. Alabama’s 212 straight weeks tops the Crimson Tide’s previous program long streak of 71 straight weeks under head coach Gene Stallings in the mid-1990s.
ALABAMA IN THE AP SINCE 2008: Alabama began the 2008 season at No. 24 in the Associated Press Preseason Poll. The Crimson Tide opened the year with a dominant 34-10 win over then-No. 9 Clemson in Atlanta. Since that win over the Tigers, UA has not been ranked lower than No. 17 in 209 polls that have followed. According to College Poll Archive, the Tide has now spent 96.2 percent of the 12-plus years ranked in the top 10, bettering No. 2 Ohio State (76.4 percent) over that stretch. A whopping 86.8 percent of that time Alabama has been ranked in the top five. The next best team is the Buckeyes at 47.2 percent. The Crimson Tide has also been ranked No. 1 a total of 98 times since 2008, or 46.2 percent of the time. Only 13 other teams have earned the No. 1 ranking over that time, with the second-most appearances coming from Clemson at 23.
SABAN LEADS IN WINS VS. TOP-FIVE TEAMS: Alabama’s 31-14 win over No. 4 Notre Dame in the College Football Playoff Semifinal on Jan. 1, 2021, was Nick Saban’s 26th career victory against a team ranked in the top five of the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, the most in college football history. Saban’s 26-14 career record in top-five contests gives him a .650 winning percentage, which is also college football’s best. Following Saban on the all-time victory list are Bobby Bowden (18/.378 winning percentage), Barry Switzer (15/.516), Woody Hayes (15/.516), Steve Spurrier (15/.429) and Lou Holtz (15/.419). Saban’s record includes seven wins in the College Football Playoff: No. 3 Michigan State (38-0) and No. 1 Clemson (45-40) in 2015; No. 4 Washington (24-7) in 2016; No. 1 Clemson (24-6) and No. 3 Georgia (26-23) in 2017; No. 4 Oklahoma (45-34) in 2018; and a 31-14 win over the fourth-ranked Fighting Irish this season. Alabama also went 3-0 in BCS National Championship Games (vs. Texas, 37-21, 2009; vs. LSU, 21-0, 2011; vs. Notre Dame, 42-14, 2012).
SABAN vs. AP TOP 25: The Crimson Tide’s 31-14 win over No. 4 Notre Dame in the College Football Playoff Semifinal on Jan. 1, 2021, was Nick Saban’s 89th career win and 66th at Alabama vs. the Associated Press Top 25. Saban moved past Joe Paterno (86) for the most career wins against the AP Top 25 when he defeated then No. 22 Auburn earlier this season on Nov. 28. Florida State legend Bobby Bowden ranks third all-time (82) while Alabama’s Paul “Bear” Bryant is fourth at 66. Former Duke, Florida and South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier is fifth at 64. Saban’s winning percentage against AP ranked teams (89-42, .679) tops Bryant (.592), Bowden (.557), Spurrier (.529) and Paterno (.512).
30-OR-MORE IN 25 STRAIGHT: Alabama is the current FBS leader for scoring at least 30 points in consecutive games with 25 following the Tide’s 31-14 win over No. 4/4/4 Notre Dame in the College Football Playoff on Jan. 1, 2021. What’s more impressive over that streak is the fact that Alabama produced 35-or-more points in 27 of the 28 games. That 25-game streak is the second-longest in Major College Football history with only UCF having a longer run of 31 games from 2017-19.
35-OR-MORE IN 24 STRAIGHT: The Crimson Tide scored 52 points in the Dec. 19 matchup against then-No. 7/11/11 Florida on Dec. 19 inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium. That total marked the 24th straight game that Alabama’s offense had scored 35-ormore points, which is the longest streak in major-college football history. Oregon scored at least 35 points in 15 consecutive games from Nov. 5, 2011 through a Nov. 17, 2012 loss to Stanford by a score of 17-14. UA’s streak ended in the College Football Playoff matchup with No. 4/4/4 Notre Dame when the Tide totaled 31 points in the win. Prior to the contest with the Fighting Irish, Alabama’s last game of not posting 35-or-more points came in the Tide’s 44-16 loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Jan. 7, 2019.
SCORING 38-PLUS ON THE ROAD: Included in Alabama’s 23 straight games of 35-or-more points is a streak of nine straight road games with 38-plus points scored thanks to the Tide’s 52-point effort over Arkansas on Dec. 12. That streak passes the current Ohio State team’s eight consecutive games of 38-plus. The Crimson Tide is now tied with Oregon for the longest stretch of 38-or-more points on the road in the Associated Press Poll Era (since 1936). The Ducks posted a nine-game streak from 2011-13. 50 IN
FIVE DURING THE REGULAR SEASON: Alabama’s high-powered offense averaged 49.5 points per game during the 10-game regular season. A big reason for that high points per game total is the fact that the Crimson Tide posted five 50-point games against Southeastern Conference competition. With those five games, Alabama became the first team in league history to record five such games in a single-season in conference play since the formation of the league in 1933. The Tide followed that up by posting 52 points against another SEC opponent in then-No. 7/11/11 Florida in the 2020 SEC Championship on Dec. 19.