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Alabama put to rest any argument about who the best team in college football was this year with its convincing thumping of Ohio State in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday. As nine-point favorites, the Crimson Tide sailed past the Buckeyes, 52-24, in Miami, the program's third title since the playoff was introduced in 2014.
The championship capped off an undefeated campaign and an award season dominated by Alabama athletes. But just like Nick Saban's recruiting trail, the Tuscaloosa news cycle never stops, so let's take a look at some of the aftermath anecdotes from the top football program in the country.
Four Declare For NFL Draft
A quartet of Alabama juniors will be making the leap to the NFL in what could be a historic draft this upcoming April. Quarterback Mac Jones, wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, defensive lineman Christian Barmore and cornerback Patrick Surtain all announced this week their intentions to leave school early and enter the 2021 NFL Draft.
According to most draft experts, all four are projected to be first-round picks. Add seniors DeVonta Smith and Najee Harris, and Alabama has the opportunity to produce six first-round selections, which would tie the 2004 Miami program for the most in a single draft.
Saban Wins Bear Bryant Award
If he wasn't already out of legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant's shadow prior to this season, Saban proved in 2020 that he is in a class of his own. Saban earned his seventh championship this year, passing Bryant for the most all-time. This was his sixth at Alabama, also winning in 2003 while the head coach at LSU.
It's Saban's second time winning the award, also capturing the hardware after that title run in Baton Rouge, but first since taking over for the Crimson Tide.
"It's the greatest honor I think of any coaching award, from my standpoint, that anybody could ever receive because of who it's named after," Saban said. "I've always thought he's the best coach ever in college football, and I still feel that way."
O'Brien Joins Saban's Staff
It was announced prior to the National Championship Game that Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian would be leaving to become the new head coach at the University of Texas. Unlike Lane Kiffin, who left in 2017 prior to the title game to take the head job at Florida Atlantic, Sarkisian stayed through the championship before heading for Austin.
It didn't take long to find Sarkisian's replacement, however, as Saban appointed Bill O'Brien as his new offensive coordinator this week. O'Brien was fired by the Houston Texans early on in the NFL season, both as head coach and general manager. Prior to that, he was the head man at Penn State and the offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots.
O'Brien and Saban will have to fill at least one role for next season, as Sarkisian took Jeff Banks to Austin with him. Banks was the special teams and tight ends coach at Alabama for the past three seasons and will get a $250,000 raise by joining the Longhorns.