Paul Finebaum suggests Justin Fields must play 'perfect' for Ohio State to have a chance against Alabama
They call radio personality Paul Finebaum the mouth of the South because he’s a legendary kibitzer, and in the best tradition of kibitzing many of his claims are of dubious value.
Finebaum was back at it today on ESPN’s First Take, clomping over the established truism that football is the ultimate team game, eleven position players executing specific tasks on every snap and trusting the man next to them is going to be where he’s meant to be, to state his belief that Ohio State’s quarterback, Justin Fields, will have to play the mythical “Perfect Game” for the Buckeyes if there’s to be any chance of an upset on national championship Monday.
“Justin Fields and Ohio State probably would not be able to keep up,” Finebaum said today on ESPN’s First Take. “If he is less than perfect in that game, the Buckeyes are going to be challenged to stay on the same field.”
Finebaum acknowledged that as far as Alabama defenses go, the 2020 version has some quality but is nothing special. Ohio State enters the championship round with an offense scoring nearly 44 points per game, a number he believes they’ll need every decimal of if they’re going to keep up with Alabama’s 48-points-per operation. With Fields coming off a serious helmet spear to the ribs suffered in the first half of the College Football Playoff semi-final, an injury the quarterback took a shot for at half-time to manage the pain, Finebaum believes there may be effects that linger into the title game.
“I think the obvious (thing) that he’s trying to say is, ‘Yeah, I got hurt, but I’m fine,'” Finebaum said. “When you get shot up to stay in the game, it’s not unheard of, it’s fairly commonplace. But it does indicate a bigger problem. And I think as we get closer to Monday night, all eyes are going to be on Justin Fields. What is his health? He played, not only a great game against Clemson, he played the game of his life. You have to do that to beat Alabama.”
Three of Alabama’s offensive stars from quarterback Mac Jones, wide receiver and winner Smith, and running back Najee Harris, were top five finalists for the Heisman as the nation’s most outstanding player. It’s an offense Ohio State is going to have to bring their sharpest blade to the field to defeat. Finebaum called the Crimson Tide’s performance in their semi-final substandard.
“Their offense is all-world . . . . They had a bad game against Notre Dame and only scored 31 points. They average 49 points a game and if they score in the 40s, it really doesn’t matter.”
The national championship kicks of at 8 pm ET Monday, Jan. 11 from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The game will be broadcast on ESPN. Tune in to see if the Mouth of the South called it right, or if football still is a team game, after all.