Ohio State and Alabama meet in the College Football Playoff championship game Monday. But what if they played on Sundays instead?
The Tide and Buckeyes combined to put more than 100 players on NFL rosters in Week 1 of the 2020 college football season. There isn’t just enough talent to put together two teams — they would be good teams.
The schools have nine former players on the NFL’s Pro Bowl rosters this season, and there are nine players more projected to be taken in the first round of Sporting News’ latest mock draft.
What would that look like if those Alabama and Ohio State alums played head-to-head in the NFL? Sporting News takes a closer look.
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Ohio State offense vs. Alabama defense
Ohio State quarterbacks
Dwayne Haskins, who was released by Washington this season, is the best available option now. Haskins figures to resurface, but Ohio State could always call up Justin Fields – the No. 2 pick in our latest mock – to be the starter after Monday’s game. Here’s a question for debate, too: If Alabama can use Jalen Hurts, then do the Buckeyes get to use Joe Burrow?
Ohio State skill positions
Ezekiel Elliott, who torched the Crimson Tide in the 2015 Sugar Bowl, would be the lead back, and rookie J.K. Dobbins and veteran Carlos Hyde would get touches. Michael Thomas is one of the best receivers in the NFL, and he would be flanked by playmakers in Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel.
Ohio State offensive line
Cory Linsley has emerged as one of the best centers in the NFL with Green Bay. Former Rimington Trophy winners Pat Elflein and Billy Price would add depth on the interior, and tackle Taylor Decker is a solid bookend. Andrew Norwell might have to slide over to tackle, and Jonah Jackson is a solid guard on the interior. Wyatt Davis and Josh Myers are on the way, too.
Alabama defensive line
Alabama continues to churn out solid interior defenders, and Quinnen Williams, who had seven sacks this season, would be the anchor in the middle. Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen are steady presences, and Raekwon Davis emerged as a solid contributor as a rookie.
Dont’a Hightower opted out this season because of COVID-19 concerns, but the two-time Pro Bowl linebacker would be heart of this defense. C.J. Mosley also opted out this season. Rashaan Evans totaled 96 tackles this season, and Reggie Ragland and Mack Wilson are solid players. Dylan Moses figures to be the next solid middle linebacker to come from Alabama.
This would be the strength with Pro Bowl players Marlon Humphrey and Minkah Fitzpatrick leading the way. Landon Collins is on injured reserve, and Dre Kirkpatrick, Ronnie Harrison and Eddie Jackson all would see time. Patrick Surtain Jr. is next in line.
Alabama offense vs. Ohio State defense
It’s time to revisit the age-old question. Would Tua Tagovailoa or Jalen Hurts get most of the snaps? Both quarterbacks made plays as rookies, and A.J. McCarron would add depth in the room. Mac Jones also figures to be a first-round pick in 2021.
Alabama skill positions
Run the damn ball, right? With Pro Bowl running backs Derrick Henry, who just joined the 2,000-yard club, and Josh Jacobs, another 1,000-yard rusher, that’s going to happen. Kenyan Drake and Mark Ingram would see touches, too. Najee Harris is on the way. Julio Jones, Amari Cooper and Calvin Ridley combined for 233 receptions this season, and a five-wide set could feature Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III. That is, until DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle join the team in 2021. Irv Smith Jr. and O.J. Howard are the tight ends.
Alabama offensive line
Ryan Kelly is the lone Pro Bowler on the group this season, and Bradley Bozeman can slide back over to center. Cam Robinson and Jedrick Wills had excellent seasons, and Jonah Williams and veteran Andre Smith, who opted out this season, add depth at the tackle position. James Carpenter is another solid interior play at guard. Alex Leatherwood is another first-round pick on the way.
Ohio State defensive line
Ridiculous. That is what this group is. Good luck on third down with a pass rush that includes Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa, who was on injured reserve this season, and rookie Chase Young. Defensive tackle Cam Heyward also made the Pro Bowl. The second unit, which features Dre’Mont Jones, Jonathan Hankins, Tyquan Lewis, Davon Hamilton and Sam Hubbard, would do well, too.
Ohio State linebackers
Jerome Baker had 112 tackles this season, and he would anchor a group that also features Malik Harrison and Raekwon McMillan. John Simon can play defensive line or linebacker depending on the scheme.
Ohio State secondary
Marshon Lattimore is a Pro Bowl cornerback, and it’s a take-your-pick (literally) from there among a talented group that includes Denzel Ward and Jeff Okudah. Bradley Roby and Gareon Conley were on injured reserve this season. The Buckeyes have seven corners in the NFL, and Shaun Wade is the next first-round pick. Vonn Bell, Malcolm Jenkins and Jordan Fuller are standouts at safety, and Malik Hooker also is on injured reserve.
Ohio State special teams
Mike Nugent is a veteran kicker, and Cameron Johnston averaged 46.7 yards per punt for the Eagles. Nate Ebner is a special teams’ ace.
Alabama special teams
J.K. Scott continues to be a solid punter for the Packers, and Will Reichard was a second-team All-American kicker this season for the Crimson Tide.