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Buckeyes ready to fulfill championship destiny in South Florida

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields will lead the Buckeyes in the title game. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Question Of The Day

Buckeyes ready to fulfill championship destiny in South Florida

The speculation, debate and conversations about Ohio State never end, and Lettermen Row is always ready to dive into the discussions. All week long, senior writer Austin Ward will field topics about the Buckeyes submitted by readers and break down anything that’s on the minds of the Best Damn Fans in the Land. Have a question that needs to be tackled, like the one today about the Ohio State score prediction for national championship against Alabama? Send it in right here — and check back daily for the answers.

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Ohio State is an underdog in the national championship against Alabama. (Courtesy/VegasInsider)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The plan was a year in the making, even if it required near-constant adjustments.

By now all the adversity is well known, and Ohio State is certainly not in any hurry to ever relive the roller-coaster of emotions it has ridden dating back to the devastating loss in the Fiesta Bowl a year ago.

Quarantines and cancellations. Brutal offseason workouts and daily reminders of how the Buckeyes had come up short with a championship-caliber team. Schedules that were scrapped entirely, reinstated at the last possible moment and then always subject to change from week to week. Rules that didn’t make sense and health screenings that nobody enjoyed.

All of it was done with an eye on the national championship. And given everything the Buckeyes have dealt with and the unmistakable message it delivered in the College Football Playoff semifinal, there’s a clear Team of Destiny vibe that surrounds them as they head into kickoff against Alabama on Monday night.

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Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave is a difference-maker for the Buckeyes. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

“Our guys understand what’s at stake,” Day said on Sunday. “At the end of the day, it comes down to executing your job and doing your job and being accountable to the guy next to you. That’s what it is. You can make it bigger than it is, but at the end of the day you’ve got to do your job, and it’s about the execution and preparation. The more you prepare, the more confident you can be on game day. So that’s really what it comes down to.

“Certainly there’s going to be excitement and all those things with a big game, but once the foot hits the ball, it’s another game and it comes down to doing your job. That’s really all you do is you just continue to spend as much time as you can preparing for the game so you can play faster on Monday night.”

That opportunity has finally arrived for the Buckeyes, and all the rest of those storylines will melt away for four quarters against a rare opponent that boasts just as much talent as they do.

Obviously Alabama has been on its own journey this season, and there’s no doubt it wants to win just as badly as Ohio State. But Justin Fields is a man on a mission, Jonathon Cooper is the living embodiment of what the program stands for as the “Block O” and the Buckeyes seem to be reaching their maximum potential as a collective brotherhood at the right time.

Ohio State also lives to be the underdog. Don’t bet against it capping this crazy season in style.

The pick: Ohio State 42, Alabama 35.

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Austin Ward

Austin Ward is Lettermen Row's senior writer covering Ohio State football and basketball. The award-winning journalist has covered the Buckeyes since 2012, spending five of those seasons working for ESPN after previous stints at the Casper Star-Tribune and Knoxville News Sentinel.