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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Maybe they should've put Alabama in the NFL this year.

Nobody in college football can slow the Crimson Tide, so why not try pro football? I'd like to see an NFL defense face Alabama. Certainly, an NFL team would be faster, stronger and better, but it would be an interesting matchup at times.

Alabama polished off another national championship with a 52-24 beatdown of Ohio State on Monday night, and it's clear that as far as the 2020 season goes, the Crimson Tide needs some better competition.

For the record, this is six national titles for the Crimson Tide in the past 12 years. Just an awesome performance, too. For much of the night, Alabama treated Ohio State like a punching bag.

Still, this wasn't just another Manic Monday, and this wasn't just another national championship for Alabama.

Nick Saban did his best coaching job this season, and considering how many great teams he has had since he stepped foot on Alabama's campus this month 14 years ago, that's saying something. He called this group "the ultimate team," and it certainly was.

COVID-19 has dominated for the past 10 months, but Saban still kept Alabama focused as well as it ever had been.

Saban didn't have spring practice, which is a valuable period for him. Preseason practice was interrupted, too.

Heck, even Saban was forced out for a game. With Saban at home in his "recruiting room," Alabama whipped Auburn by 29 points.

This team was different from any of his past squads. This was an offense-first team. It was star-driven. He's had good offenses before and he's had stars, but never like this. He's never given his game philosophy over to the passing game like this.

Still, it was fun on the final drive to see Alabama go with a throwback offense, with Mac Jones taking snaps under center and the Tide lined up in an old-fashioned I-formation offense. The Tide still moved the ball.

The most prominent sign in Alabama's athletic complex reads, "Do Your Job." That's part of Saban's process: if everyone does his job, everything will turn out OK.

How many other college football teams did their jobs this year?

It's hard to go unbeaten even when everything goes right, much less in one like we just had.

Saban has had five teams go unbeaten in the regular season, but three of them (2008, 2016, 2018) lost in either the SEC Championship Game or national title game. The 2017 team lost to Auburn in the final regular-season game of the year.

Only the 2009 team, Saban's first national champion at Alabama, went through the entire season without a loss.

This team matched that, and with a schedule as difficult.

The 2020 Crimson Tide team didn't just hang on through the end of the season, either. Alabama quickly batted away one blue-blood college football team in Notre Dame and then took on another in Ohio State.

The Buckeyes seemed like a worthy opponent. After the Buckeyes pounded Clemson by 21 in the Sugar Bowl, it just seemed as if Alabama finally was facing someone its own size.


Sure, star running back Trey Sermon got hurt early. Quarterback Justin Fields didn't seem himself.

So what? Alabama made do in the second half without the Heisman Trophy winner, DeVonta Smith, who injured a finger.

Get over it, Ohio State. This night belonged to Alabama.

Jones was brilliant. Najee Harris was amazing. Smith was other-worldly.

But the others did their jobs, too.

Jaylen Waddle came off the sideline for three catches. (Remember when his injury against Tennessee was supposed to end the Tide's championship hopes?)

Christian Barmore has developed into the best defensive lineman in the country, and he showed it particularly on a fourth-down stop in the second half. He shot through a gap and took down the ball carrier short of a first down.

The offensive line was excellent, and it's worth pointing out that even with the nation's best center, Landon Dickerson, missing the playoffs with a knee injury, Alabama never lost a step. Chris Owens stepped in and played like a winner.

Brian Robinson ran hard. John Metchie picked up the slack when Smith went out. Brian Branch was an ace in pass coverage.

Was this Nick Saban's best Alabama team ever? Considering the circumstances, I'd say yes.

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Senior Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.

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