Alabama vs. Ohio State: Is Bama Really 2 Touchdowns Better Than the Buckeyes?
R.J. Bell of Pregame.com projected that if Alabama and Ohio State met on the football field, the Crimson Tide would be a 14-point favorite over the Buckeyes.
We will never know how these teams truly match up because OSU's season is over. But at first glance, 14 points is just about right for a spread.
Ohio State may be undefeated, but they are among the most flawed undefeated teams in recent seasons. Their defense was up and down, and when other teams shut down Braxton Miller, they shut down the Buckeyes' offense.
Alabama, on the other hand, has been arguably the best team in the country with wins over Michigan and LSU to help back it up.
The Buckeyes haven't faced a defense as good as Alabama's all season.
Alabama is among the best teams at blitzing the quarterback, something Miller isn't good at dissecting. Some of the hits he took against Michigan are proof of that.
When Miller learns how to either make a hot read against a blitz or audible the protection in front of him, he will be even better than he was last season.
But the Crimson Tide's defense is good in all three levels, and Dee Milliner might likely be lined up alongside Ohio State's big-play receiver Devin Smith, which takes away a good chunk of OSU's deep passing game.
The short stuff would still be there with Philly Brown, Evan Spencer and the tight ends.
Defensively, the Buckeyes' defensive line led by John Simon and Johnathan Hankins would be a very good test for Alabama's offensive line led by Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack.
Is a 14-point spread too much for a potential OSU-Alabama matchup?
Then comes another problem when A.J. McCarron drops back to throw. Ohio State's secondary has been very inconsistent and has shown the tendency to allow the big play through the air.
With big-play targets like Kenny Bell and Amari Cooper, good corners in Bradley Roby and Travis Howard won't be enough.
None of this, however, is to say Ohio State has no chance to win the game.
Texas A&M showed that a dual-threat quarterback and an up-tempo offense can create some problems for Alabama's defense, especially if it can't substitute. Johnny Manziel threw for 253 yards and rushed for 92 more in Tuscaloosa to help topple the Tide 29-24.
If Urban Meyer and Tom Herman allow Miller to be aggressive with his arm and take chances throwing the ball, Ohio State will have a chance to move down the field and get some points. Defensively, Ohio State's line has enough depth and talent to give Alabama's front line a tough job.
At the end of the day, however, Alabama has too much talent and Ohio State is too inconsistent to make this game less than a two-touchdown game.
The Buckeyes could surprise and make it close or possibly win it, but Ohio State's inconsistency within the game is something Alabama would feast on. They'd win by at least 14 points, just as Bell's line indicates.
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