MIAMI — This is what Ohio State fought so hard for in the summer.
Some brushed aside players, coaches and parents when they campaigned to reinstate the Big Ten football season, questioning the validity and effectiveness of such a movement.
Monday, the Buckeyes will play for a national title.
After a dominating Sugar Bowl win over Clemson on New Year’s Day, Ohio State will travel to Miami, Florida to face the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide. It is the Buckeyes’ second appearance in a College Football Playoff National Championship.
“The goal was never just to beat Clemson,” Buckeyes coach Ryan Day said Monday. “The goal was to win the national championship. All these guys who — we didn’t have a season — they were fighting to get back to play for a national championship.”
It’s always a grind when the country’s best teams collide in such a high-stakes matchup — but possibly even more so with this year’s version of Alabama. Receiver DeVonta Smith won the Heisman Trophy while quarterback Mac Jones and running back Najee Harris finished top-five in voting.
On the flip side is an Ohio State defense which received plenty of criticism throughout the season — the same defense that stepped up in the Sugar Bowl, forcing five three-and-outs against Trevor Lawrence and the vaunted Clemson offense.
“I feel like, when it comes to football terms, success is ‘win’,” defensive lineman Jonathon Cooper said Wednesday. “Winning that game, that’s what it all comes down to. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how it gets done. Doesn’t matter what goes on throughout the game: plays missed, calls missed, penalties, tackles for loss, sacks, all those things. I feel like success is just when you win.
“By all means, looking back at the Clemson game, a lot of the things that happened, they’re a really good team, but we won that game, and that’s what I would consider being a success or having some success in college football.”
While the win over Clemson was certainly a breakthrough moment for Ryan Day and this Ohio State team, it wasn’t the ultimate goal. If the Buckeyes so-happened to face Clemson en route to a national championship, fine — but the title game is what really matters.
“While it was an emotional win, that wasn’t the goal,” Day said. “The goal was to win this one. So I’d be disappointed if we didn’t play well in this game. This is everything on the line, everything we wanted, and so now all the focus goes on Alabama.”
The game in Miami will feature a pair of football’s best offenses. In their respective semifinal games, Justin Fields threw for 385 yards and six touchdowns; Mac Jones passed for 297 and four scores.
For anyone watching the game on TV or listening to the radio, Lettermen Row has all the viewing information that could possibly be needed to not miss a moment of the Buckeyes’ quest for a ninth national title.
Ohio State vs. Alabama game time, details
Alabama leads the all-time series 3-1. The two programs last played in the 2015 Sugar Bowl; the Buckeyes defeated the No. 1 Tide 42-35 en route to their first national since 2002.
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- Date: Monday, Jan. 11
- Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Florida
- Weather: High of 77 degrees, low of 69 and overcast
- The line: Alabama is an 8-point favorite, per VegasInsider
- Over/under: 75.5 points
What TV channel is Ohio State against Alabama on?
The Buckeyes and Crimson Tide matchup will be televised on ESPN with Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Maria Taylor and Tom Rinaldi on the call.
How can Ohio State against Alabama be watched online?
The game can be streamed online at ESPN.com.
What radio station carries the Buckeyes game?
Paul Keels, Jim Lachey and Matt Andrews will have the call on the Ohio State Sports Radio Network 97.1 FM (WBNS). A full list of radio affiliates can be found here.
Miss any Lettermen Row coverage so far this week?
- Snap Judgments: Buckeyes dominance on full display in Clemson beatdown
- Photos: Ohio State throttles Clemson behind gutsy, record-breaking Justin Fields performance
- Justin Fields delivers finest moment in Sugar Bowl victory
- What We Learned as Buckeyes crushed Clemson to earn national-title shot
- Buckeyes toughness on full display in Sugar Bowl domination of Clemson
- Relentless Trey Sermon, dominant offensive line elevating Buckeyes
- Five Questions as Buckeyes gear up for national-title clash with Alabama
- Who helped their cause in Buckeyes dominant Sugar Bowl win?
- Buckeyes ‘definitely’ expect Justin Fields will play in CFP title game
- What We Learned as Buckeyes begin national title prep
- Unsung Sugar Bowl heroes will be key again for Buckeyes in title game
- Ohio State still on track for title game as scheduled: ‘Game on’
- Silver Football, epic Sugar Bowl for Justin Fields latest reminders of greatness
- National title, legend status within Buckeyes reach in ‘tidal game’
- Buckeyes getting bonuses from Marcus Williamson now, next year
- What We Learned as Silver Bullets prepare for Alabama offense
- Homegrown Buckeyes living dream, focused on bringing title home