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College football National Championship preview

Tonight is the College Football National Championship game between No. 1 Alabama (12-0) and No.3 Ohio State (7-0). The game will be the fifth all-time meeting between these two historic programs-- and the first since the Buckeyes knocked off the Crimson Tide in the inaugural CFP semifinal game in 2014.

Alabama comes into the game as the heavy favorite to win the championship, as it has all season. The Crimson Tide defeated Notre Dame 31-14 in the national semifinal. The Alabama offense is led by a potent attack that features several future NFL players and includes three of the top five Heisman candidates--QB Mac Jones, RB Najee Harris, and Heisman winner DeVonta Smith. The defense has NFL talent as well, but has also been susceptible to big plays. While Notre Dame didn't have the players to make the Tide pay, Ohio State certainly does.

Ohio State responded well to criticism from Clemson's Dabo Swinney, soundly beating his Tigers in the semifinal game. There were many questions about whether QB Justin Fields could play well in big games, as he struggled against better opponents throughout the season. Fields passed the test with flying colors and got another big day from RB Trey Sermon. The defensive line also played its best game of the season, which may mean that the Buckeyes are just beginning to play at their best. Ohio State will definitely be able to score in this one, but the Buckeyes will need another super-human effort from that defense.

Both teams have very good but underachieving defenses and offenses that operate at high levels. Big plays should be available for both sides, so I would expect a rather high-scoring game, and it may come down to whoever has the ball last.

The game will be played at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium and can be seen tonight at 8 PM ET on ESPN's family of networks.

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