ESPN's David Pollack explains what it will take for Ohio State to knock off Alabama
David Pollack—who has built a reputation as one of ESPN’s more scattershot analysts—went on the network’s Get Up morning talk show to offer some professional insight on Monday’s national championship between the Ohio State University and the University of Alabama.
“It’s going to take over 40 to beat Alabama,” Pollack said. “And I tell you what, I can’t give you a blueprint on how to do it because it doesn’t exist. I haven’t seen it.”
While the 2020 blueprint for beating the 12-0 Crimson Tide may not yet exist, the defense twice had more than forty points scored against it during the 2020 season, a number Pollack gave as the range necessary to clip coach Saban’s boys on the field of play.
The Ole Miss Rebels scored 48 points in an Oct. 10 loss to Alabama in Oxford, Miss., while the Florida Gators dropped 46 on the Tide three weeks ago in the SEC championship game in Atlanta, also in a losing effort.
“Having watched all the tape, if you go back and you watch Arkansas —Arkansas did the best job of limiting explosive plays,” said Pollack. “Mac Jones threw for 200 yards, DeVonta Smith had 28 yards receiving and three catches. How’d they do it? They rushed three and dropped eight. They had a bunch of people in coverage and they said, ‘We aren’t giving up the big play. You want to run the football? So be it’.”
Pollack, appearing to ignore the scoreboard over the course of a game for the more obscure metric of ‘limiting explosive plays,’ noted that the Razorbacks still managed to go to the half facing an all but insurmountable deficit.
“They were still down 38-3 at halftime! 38-3! They did a great job, they did an awesome job!” bellowed Pollack.
In the end the former Georgia defensive-end’s analysis is foundation-ally correct. The Crimson Tide’s offense is as potent as a viper, and the only way to beat them will be to slow them down and have the hell of an offensive night of your own. It’s not easy task, but who said it would be?
Pollack offered one last example of the immensity of the charge ahead for the Buckeyes, noting that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish did a wonderful job of limiting Alabama’s possessions in their semi-final game. Still, however, the Crimson Tide found ways to score nearly every time they touched the football.
“By the way, Notre Dame in the semifinal gave Alabama four possessions in the first half, ate the clock! Alabama still had 21 points at the half. So they are going to get theirs,” said Pollack.
“I would just take it slow, man. Slow the game down. If Najee Harris wants 25 carries, so be it. I get you to the red zone and kick a few field goals, I hold you to 30-something – that’s a victory. Now I have to go score a bunch of points.”
The national championship game is set for 8 pm ET on January 11 from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The competition will be broadcast across ESPN’s imprint of networks. According to Pollack, the first team to 40 points might have a chance to win. Place your bets.