USA TODAY Sports' Chuck Cook As part of the College Football Playoff, the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide will face the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 National Championship game. The game will be played on January 12 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
The game will be the culmination of the first year of the four-team playoff system that was introduced by the BCS/Playoff System Replacement Committee in 2009. The new format was designed to create a more equitable distribution of college football's most coveted prize by eliminating the existing BCS title game and replacing it with four separate semifinal games. The winners of these games would then meet in New Orleans for the final championship game.
Alabama has now won six national titles under coach Nick Saban and will look to become the first team since 1948 to win three consecutive titles.
Ohio State joined the new playoff system in 2014 after winning the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game. The Buckeyes have appeared in two other playoff games thus far, losing to Clemson in 2016 and defeating Michigan State in 2019. They are also looking to become the first team from the Big Ten to win the championship game.
The 2021 National Championship game will be the second time these two teams have met in the championship game.
The 2020 college football season is down to one game: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 3 Ohio State. It's only fair that the Rose Bowl champion Crimson Tide and Sugar Bowl champion Buckeyes meet in Miami to determine the sport's national title during this bowl season marred by the COVID-19 outbreak. The game will be played on January 10 at 8:30 p.m. EST on ABC.
The matchup was originally scheduled for Nov. 23 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas but was postponed due to concerns about coronavirus spreading through crowds at sporting events. It was then moved to Jan. 7, but that date was canceled too because of concerns about community spread in Columbus and Tuscaloosa. Finally, on Thursday, the schools announced that the game would be played on January 10 in Miami instead.
This is the first time since 2011 that both teams are ranked 1/3. At the time, Florida State was undefeated and had already beaten Alabama, while Ohio State lost to Virginia Tech before beating Maryland and Nebraska to finish the season 11-1. The Buckeyes went on to win the BCS Championship Game against Texas A&M.
Alabama is looking to become the first team to repeat as national champions since LSU did it in 2007-08. The Crimson Tide are 9-0 for the second straight year and 13-1 overall.
The No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes, who defeated No. 1 Alabama 42-35 in the 2015 Sugar Bowl, as well as the No. 3 and 4..
Alabama entered the game as heavy favorites to win their third consecutive title but came up short against a team that was not expected to even make it to New Orleans for the game. The victory also gave head coach Urban Meyer his second national championship at Ohio State. It was the first time since 2010 that the Buckeyes had won back-to-back titles after losing the 2009 finale to Florida Atlantic 10-7.
Ohio State went on to face Clemson in the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game where they lost 19-16 in overtime. The victory gave Meyer his third career national title and fourth overall. It also marked the first time that an OSU player has scored a touchdown in each half of a national championship game.
Aaron Donald was named the Defensive Player of the Year while J.T. Barrett became only the second quarterback in NCAA history to be selected college football's MVP after winning the award over Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas and others. He finished with 3,840 passing yards and 46 touchdowns against only 12 interceptions while rushing for another 937 yards and 13 more scores.