Bama’s Jones: Think we’re best team to ever play

  • Covers the SEC.
  • Joined ESPN in 2012.
  • Graduate of Auburn University.

Finishing the season undefeated and beating Ohio State 52-24 to win the College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T on Monday night had some Alabama players feeling as if they’d made history.

“I think we’re the best team to ever play,” Alabama quarterback Mac Jones said.

Jones, who threw for more than 4,000 yards on the season and won the Davey O’Brien Award for the nation’s top QB, cited the team’s 10-game, all-SEC regular-season schedule.

The league adopted the conference-only slate in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s no team that will ever play an SEC schedule like that again,” Jones said. “At the same time, we’re just so happy to have won this game and kind of put the icing on the cake.”

Defensive lineman Christian Barmore, who was named the Defensive MVP after finishing the championship game with one sack and two tackles for loss, agreed with his quarterback’s assessment.

“Yes, we really are the best team because we worked hard,” he said. “We didn’t hear the outside noise. We ignored the COVID stuff. We just worked hard together. We just really grinded out for this camp, scrimmages, everything.”

Alabama began the season ranked third in the Associated Press Preseason Poll but quickly stated its case to be the top team in college football, beating top-10 programs Georgia and Texas A&M in the first four weeks of the season.

The Crimson Tide then ran the table, beating No. 22 Auburn in late November and No. 7 Florida in the SEC championship game to clinch the top seed in the playoff.

In the Rose Bowl, Alabama beat Notre Dame by 17 points.

In the CFP National Championship, Alabama handed Ohio State its only loss of the season.

The Tide defense had its ups and downs, but the offense was prolific.

Najee Harris rushed for 1,466 yards and won the Doak Walker Award, which is given to the nation’s top running back.

DeVonta Smith caught 117 passes and 23 touchdowns and became the first receiver to win the Heisman Trophy in 29 years.

All told, Alabama averaged 48.5 points and 541.6 yards per game.

And while Alabama coach Nick Saban avoided any direct comparisons to other programs, he didn’t hesitate to place this Alabama team within the context of the five other Alabama teams he has led to national championships.

“No disrespect to any other teams that we had or any championship teams, but this team won 11 SEC games,” Saban said. “No other team has done that. They won the SEC, went undefeated in the SEC, then they beat two great teams in the playoffs with no break in between.

“This is our fifth game in a row, from LSU to Arkansas to Florida to Notre Dame to here. Played 13 games, went undefeated with all the disruption that we had in this season. I think there’s quite a bit to write about when it comes to the legacy of the team.”

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