The easy pick is Alabama, and we prefer the easy over the hard. But don’t think this game will be over by halftime. Alabama has shown signs of weakness this season (in games against Arkansas, Ole Miss, LSU and even in an eventual blowout over Auburn). The Buckeyes will hang around.
Alabama 31, Ohio State 27
There’s no better story in the CFP semifinals than Ohio State’s ability to overcome not one but two devastating quarterback injuries and get this far with third-stringer Cardale Jones. The Buckeyes are probably believing they are a team of destiny at this point, and rightly so. But ask yourself this question: How many third-stringers do you think could beat a Nick Saban-coached team with this much time to prepare?
Alabama 34, Ohio State 17
Ohio State has had nearly a month to get Cardale Jones ready for his second career start, and he’ll hit some big plays against the Alabama secondary. But the Crimson Tide will make big plays also in a highly entertaining game. Ultimately, the pass-catch combination of Blake Sims and Amari Cooper and Bama’s stingy red-zone defense will send the Tide on to Arlington, Texas.
Alabama 30, Ohio State 26
When it matters to a Nick Saban team in the Superdome, it wins: 3-0. When it doesn’t, it loses: 0-2. Obviously, this matters for the Crimson Tide. The key will be Bama’s depth in the defensive line, which keeps players fresh against Ohio State’s hurry-up offense. It helped the Tide overcome an early deficit in the Auburn game, and it will again in this one.
Alabama 38, Ohio State 24
Ohio State is playing better than any team in the country and should keep it close for a while. But Bama has too many weapons. Tide wide receiver Amari Cooper will be the best thing on the field other than the Ohio State band. (Look them up on YouTube.) Last season’s woeful Sugar Bowl outing should have the Tide focused. Cooper will like New Orleans a little more after this one. Next stop? Dallas vs. the Ducks.
Alabama 31, Ohio State 17
Ralph Russo, Associated Press — Alabama 28, Ohio State 17
Mark Schlabach, ESPN.com — Alabama 31, Ohio State 24
Pat Forde, Yahoo!Sports — Alabama 28, Ohio State 13
Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com — Winner: Ohio State
Mike Huguenin, NFL.com — Alabama 28, Ohio State 17
Gil Brandt, NFL.com — Alabama 34, Ohio State 24
George Schroeder, USA Today — Winner: Alabama
Erick Smith, USA Today — Winner: Alabama
Ryan Fowler, FoxSports.com — Winner: Ohio State
Neil Greenberg, Washington Post — Alabama: 59.1-percent win probability
John Halpin, FoxSports.com — Winner: Alabama
Andy Staples, SI.com — Winner: Alabama
Pete Thamel, SI.com — Alabama 21, Ohio State 10
Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star — Winner: Alabama
Chris Low, ESPN.com — Winner: Alabama
Edward Aschoff, ESPN.com — Winner: Alabama
Sam Khan Jr., ESPN.com — Alabama 31, Ohio State 24
Greg Ostendorf, ESPN.com — Alabama 31, Ohio State 7
Brian Bennett, ESPN.com — Alabama 31, Ohio State 7
Austin Ward, ESPN.com — Ohio State 31, Alabama 30
Mitch Sherman, ESPN.com — Alabama 31, Ohio State 17
Braden Gall, Athlon Sports — Alabama 37, Ohio State 24