Following a bizarre and tumultuous college football season, Alabama and coach Nick Saban are national champions again.
The Crimson Tide punctuated a dominant season with a masterful performance to beat Ohio State 52–24 in Monday night's title game and remain undefeated (13–0).
Saban's team turned in an explosive offensive effort, as quarterback Mac Jones tallied 464 passing yards and five touchdowns, shredding the Buckeyes' defense. Wide receiver DeVonta Smith hauled in 12 receptions for 215 yards and three touchdowns in the first half before suffering a finger injury that kept him out of most of the second half. Meanwhile, running back Najee Harris found the end zone for an additional three scores.
The Tide's sterling performance puts them back on the college football mountaintop and makes their case for being Saban's best team. Jones certainly thinks so.
Following the game, the signal-caller told reporters, "I think we're the best team to ever play. There's no team that will ever play an SEC schedule like that again."
This year, the SEC adopted a conference-only regular-season schedule in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Alabama entered the season ranked No. 3 in the AP's preseason poll and didn't let a full slate of SEC opponents slow them down. Within the first four weeks of the season, the Tide beat Texas A&M (No. 13) and Georgia (No. 3). In late November, they took over as the No. 1-ranked team in the nation and trounced Auburn (No. 22) before defeating Florida in the SEC championship and Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl.
Monday night's title win continues Saban's run as perhaps the greatest coach in college football history. He's now won six championships at Alabama after winning the national title at LSU in 2003, leading all active coaches with three championships in the College Football Playoff era.
To help celebrate this historic moment from the Crimson Tide, check out Sports Illustrated's commemorative issue of the national champions and Sports Illustrated's classic Alabama covers.