Paul Finebaum sees the Ohio State football team as the biggest threat to Alabama this year.
Paul Finebaum is not alone in thinking the Ohio State football team will play Alabama for the national championship.
The Crimson Tide were last year’s national runner-up to Georgia, who they beat previously in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta weeks prior. While Alabama should be the runaway favorite to win the 2023 College Football Playoff, is Finebaum right to believe it will be Ryan Day’s Buckeyes who will be meeting them there in the end? Let’s discuss if this is an inevitable outcome or not.
“Ohio State is built for this,” said Finebaum on Get Up last week. “It’s a tailor-made schedule for Ryan Day to make a serious run at the championship.”
Paul Finebaum: Ohio State football team biggest challenger to Alabama in 2022
There are plenty of reasons to be bullish on the Buckeyes this year. They have a Heisman Trophy finalist returning under center in C.J. Stroud, who might be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. He is throwing the football to arguably the best receiving corps in the country, headlined by Biletnikoff favorite Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Stroud can also hand the ball off to TreVeyon Henderson.
Although the defense remains a work in progress under new coordinator Jim Knowles, Ohio State should still be favored in every game it plays this season up until the playoff for sure. While the Buckeyes may not be able to hang with Alabama defensively just yet, they could keep pace with the Crimson Tide in a shootout. However, there are other national title hopefuls besides them.
Defending national champion Georgia is the most likely team not named Alabama or Ohio State to reach the title bout. Unfortunately, the Dawgs will probably have to play the Crimson Tide in Atlanta for the SEC Championship. If both teams are undefeated through 12 games, both squads are getting in, but two losses will knock them out, as was the case with Ohio State last season.
Although other teams besides Georgia could argue for a national title bid over Alabama or Ohio State, it does not feel realistic for the likes of Baylor, Clemson, Oklahoma, Utah or anybody else for that matter. Finebaum may hail from SEC country, but he is absolutely right in his assessment that it should be Alabama vs. Ohio State as the likeliest preseason prediction for this title bout paring.
Georgia and others may have something to say about it, but Ohio State might have what it takes.