Adam Rittenberg of ESPN has been publishing a series of out-of-season pieces on college football that we’ve been keeping a close eye on. One of the latest efforts is a stab at comparing certain jobs across the country and he bit off a big one last week when attempting to size up (subscription required) the Alabama job vs. Ohio State.
With the combination of where both programs are, their historical significance, and the brand of both, there may not be two programs that are at the top of the food chain more than the Crimson Tide and Buckeyes. It was close when going through these things and others like support, fanbases, and facilities, but in the end, Rittenberg declared a winner.
So, who did he pick?
NEXT … Rittenberg’s best job between Ohio State and Alabama
Alabama as the better job than Ohio State — albeit slightly
Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban (left) greets Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day before the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
Rittenberg broke down the comparison using several factors. Those factors are below, including who he gave the edge to:
History: Edge Alabama
Resources/administrative support: Edge Ohio State
Recruiting/access to talent: Edge Alabama
Expectations/program climate: Ohio State
Sounds like a tie right? Well, not exactly. According to Rittenberg, Saban has changed the expectations and perceptions in Tuscaloosa to the point of elevating the Crimson Tide program slightly ahead of OSU.
“Before Saban arrived at Alabama, Ohio State would be a fairly easy pick as the better job. Alabama had history at the national level, but its glory days were fading fast. Ohio State, meanwhile, showed greater stability, leading to Big Ten dominance and repeated high-level bowl appearances.
Saban has shifted the paradigm in Tuscaloosa, especially since his first national title at Alabama in 2009.”
NEXT … What we say
Comparing Ohio State and Alabama jobs
Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Baron Browning (5) rovers a fumble during the second quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
What We Say
Rittenberg makes a lot of sense right now. However, there could be another paradigm shift coming with the expansion of the College Football Playoff and the reality that Name, Image, and Likeness is about to be a real thing. Even with as good as Ohio State has been up until this point, being in a large city with access to many more endorsement possibilities could swing things the other way once again. And with more teams able to get into a playoff, it won’t be as easy for Alabama to win the ultimate prize going forward.
That all remains to be seen of course, but like life, college football can be cyclical because of outside pressures and influences. I like where Ohio State sits right now, poised and ready to weather the storm of change and come out the other end as consistently great as it has been for a long, long time.