The Alabama Crimson Tide have rolled over another team to claim their 18th National Championship after a historic season. This year, the University of Alabama played against the Ohio State Buckeyes, a team heavily criticized for only playing six games due to COVID-19 restrictions in the Big 10 Conference.
This season will be remembered for many reasons, some good and some bad. Alabama head coach, Nick Saban, has now claimed his seventh National Championship, surpassing record-holder Paul Bryant, also known for his time with the Crimson Tide. Saban now holds the most national championship wins by a head coach in college football history. When asked about the accomplishment, Saban focused on his team’s victory rather than his own. “I’m just happy we won tonight,” he said. “I just love this team so much and what they’ve been able to do. I can’t put it into words.”
As Alabama celebrated, unfortunate news was announced. Making history in another light, the National Championship delivered the lowest ratings in over a decade. “Saturday down South” reported the numbers looked big for ESPN, but then revealed that the rating for this 2021 championship was dramatically lower in comparison to the previous year when Joe Burrow and LSU took on the Clemson Tigers with just over 25.5 million viewers. Yes, 18.7 million viewers are still worthy of a prime time spot on TV, but as viewership declines, so could college football.
Over the years, many have discussed the repetitiveness of the national championship, with the same teams appearing almost yearly. The same can be said about the Bundesliga Soccer League. The top spots in all sports are usually dominated by the same teams. It looks like the College Football Playoffs are in need of a new winning team to draw in the crowds.
Looking ahead to next season, college football needs an electrifying player to light up the field, like stare Alabama wide receiver, DeVonta Smith. Back in 2018, Saban turned to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and a few other college freshmen, including Smith, to defeat Georgia in the National Championship game. Smith brought in the 41-yard winning drive, and the legacy of DeVonta Smith was born.
Against the Ohio State Buckeyes, Smith recorded 12 receptions for a total of 215 yards and scored three touchdowns in the first half to lead his team to a 52-24 win. Smith left the game early due to a hand injury but returned to celebrate with his team after the game.
Smith made history as the first receiver to be awarded the Heisman Trophy since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991. DeVonta also won the Walter Camp Award, Maxwell Award, Hornung Award and the Biletnikoff Award, making him the first player to win all five awards in a single season. Perhaps the biggest accolade for Smith was the ongoing recognition he received from many of the football greats on Twitter.
Davante Adams, a wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers, tweeted “From now on if u misspell my name make sure it’s DeVonta.” Jerry Jeudy, a former Alabama and current Broncos wide receiver shared his thoughts by calling Smith the “greatest wide receiver to play college football.”
In the upcoming NFL Draft Smith is expected to be selected in the first round. For now, we will all wait and watch the legacy of DeVonta Smith unfold and imagine what an NFL career may look like for one of the all-time college football greats. As for next year, ESPN’s “The 2021 Way-Too-Early college football top 25” has Clemson in the top spot with (2) Alabama, (3) Oklahoma and (4) Georgia rounding out the highest-ranked teams.