Ohio State

Team: 2,249 yards allowed (139.8 per game, No. 45 nationally), 3.9 yards per carry; 21 TDs.


Team: 1.488 yards allowed (88.6 per game, No. 2 nationally, 3 TDs


The Buckeyes were touted as the best run-stopping unit in the nation, but the loss of defensive end Noanah Spence after a second failed drug test dealt the team a blow from which it never really recovered, despite the presence of sack-master Joey Bosa. Linebacker Joshua Perry is the team’s leading tackler (113). As always, the Crimson Tide is strongest up front with nose guard A’Shawn Robinson and end Jarran Reed providing little room for opponents to work though. Middle linebacker Trey DePriest is a steady force as well.


Alabama has allowed three rushing touchdowns – three. That’s tops in the nation. Ohio State obviously has been more vulnerable, but holding Wisconsin to just 71 yards in the 59-0 rout of the Badgers in the Big Ten Championship Game has to stand for something.

Advantage: Alabama

--Ted Lewis