After six weeks of the regular season, it appears Alabama and Ohio State are side-by-side on a crash course to meet in the College Football Playoff.
In fact, the Buckeyes would likely give the Crimson Tide the best game of any team currently ranked inside the Top 10, according to former Vegas handicapper and USA Today analyst Danny Sheridan.
“Alabama -7 if (played) this Saturday on a neutral site,” Sheridan replied on Twitter to a question centered around a hypothetical betting line for the matchup.
Nick Saban’s team is beating the opposition by an average of 40 points per game this season, tops nationally among 11 unbeaten teams remaining. Ranked No. 3 in this week’s AP Poll after Saturday’s win over Indiana, the Buckeyes did pick up a first-place vote after quarterback Dwayne Haskins threw for 455 yards and six touchdowns against the Hoosiers.
Haskins now leads FBS football in touchdown passes (25) this season and is currently second in Heisman odds, behind, you guessed it, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa. The Crimson Tide’s first-year starter has 18 touchdown passes without a turnover through six games and still hasn’t thrown a pass in a fourth quarter.
Last month, the Golden Nugget Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas released projecting betting lines for Alabama vs. Ohio State, Clemson, Georgia and Oklahoma. According to the casino, Alabama would be a double-digit favorite against all four teams — this coming prior to Ohio State’s win at Penn State, as Sheridan notes.
Equipped with a roster more talented than most, Alabama has been compared to the Golden State Warriors in terms of overall dominance. The Crimson Tide are overwhelming favorites to win it all, which would mark the program’s sixth national championship since 2009 and would give Saban his seventh ring (most all-time).
Alabama’s offense is on a record-setting pace, one of the reasons several analysts believe the Crimson Tide could actually win against a NFL team this season.
Hard to fathom, right?
“Don’t give me that NFL superiority bullcrap,” Chris Childers said last month on SiriusXM. “That is a team with NFL guys all over it. They are a NFL franchise. That’s the way they’re run. That’s the way they play. They are the 33rd NFL franchise is this country.”
Earlier this year, analytics site Prediction Machine said Alabama would be a huge underdog against defending AFC champion New England. But matched up with lesser-talented squads without a future Hall of Famer at quarterback would be very different, analyst Aaron Murray says.
“I would say, Alabama vs. the Buffalo Bills tomorrow — that’s a single-digit score difference right there,” Murray said during his show with Childers.
Saban refused to compare this year’s team to any of his title-winning clubs in previous years after Saturday’s 65-31 drubbing of Arkansas.
“I can’t make any comparisons. This is a different team,” Saban said. “This team has its own identity for what they can do. We just want them all to stay focused on what they need to continue to improve so that we can continue to get better. I think we’re going to play against some really good defensive teams down the road, and you’re not really competing against the other team. You’re really competing against yourself. Are you playing as well as you’re capable of playing? And are you doing it on a consistent basis, down in and down out relative to what your job is, the discipline you need to execute and do your job?
“We’re obviously doing that better on offense than we are on defense. But we also want the offensive players to be very aware that there’s things that we can do better on offense and we’re going to continue to try to work to improve on.”