Who Won the 2018 College Football National Championship?

The 2018 College Football National Championship Game will go down in history as one of the best games of all time, but who was the winner?

The 2018 College Football National Championship Game will go down in history as one of the greatest college football games to remember. However, if you can’t remember it, let us refresh your mind with a recap of the 2017 CFB season from the perspective of the winner of the 2018 College Football National Championship.

College Football National Championship 2018 Winner

Despite falling to defeat in the Iron Bowl and almost missing out on the College Football Playoff, the fourth-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide won the 2018 College Football National Championship. Nick Saban’s team overcame the third-ranked Georgia Bulldogs 26-23 in an overtime showdown that will sit as one of the greatest games in CFB history.

The win — essentially a home game for the Bulldogs in front of 77,430 fans in Mercedes Bend Stadium, Atlanta — gave Saban his fifth national championship as the head coach of the Crimson Tide. After falling short against Clemson the previous year, the 2018 College Football National Championship was the 17th success for Alabama and their second in the College Football Playoff era.

Alabama Overcomes Iron Bowl Loss To Win the 2018 College Football National Championship

Returning a healthy dose of talent from the team that had lost to Clemson in the title game the previous year, Alabama began their quest for the national championship as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. As we’d grown accustomed to in the CFP era, that wasn’t always necessarily a good thing. The No. 1 ranked team at the end of each of the three years of the four-team format had fallen in the title game.

Behind quarterback Jalen Hurts, a talented quartet of running backs led by Damien Harris, and a ludicrous wide receiver room that featured Calvin Ridley, Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith, and Henry Ruggs III, the Crimson Tide rolled over all defenses leading up to the Iron Bowl.

The 15th-ranked scoring offense, Alabama averaged 37.1 points per game while scoring 30+ points in eight games during the 2017 regular season.

Yet, it was an almost historic defense that helped fuel Alabama’s run to the 2018 College Football National Championship. Allowing just 11.9 points per game, the unit was the top-ranked scoring defense in the nation. It was made up of Saturday stars who would go on to become Sunday standouts.

Daron Payne, Rashaan Evans, and Minkah Fitzpatrick would become first-round picks just months later, while the roster was littered with talented young contributors such as Trevon Diggs, Quinnen Williams, Xavier McKinney, and Dylan Moses.

A comfortable win in what was arguably the biggest test of their 2017 season, an opening day clash with No. 3 ranked Florida State, set the tone of what was to come. Fresno State, Colorado State, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee, and FCS outfit Mercer were all curb-stomped in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Although LSU put up a more substantial fight than the aforementioned teams, they still came out on the wrong end of a two-touchdown defeat to the unstoppable Crimson Tide. Yet, Alabama’s road to the 2018 CFB National Championship did have some weaknesses.

Although they beat FSU in a neutral venue — their first trip to Mercedes Benz Stadium of the season — and annihilated Vanderbilt in Nashville, a night game trip to Kyle Field ended in just an eight-point win over unranked Texas A&M. Similar struggles ensued in Starkville, where the sound of cowbells piercing the night sky drowned out the concerns arising from a one-score win over 18th-ranked Mississippi State.

The Tide’s next road game would have a much different result. Traveling to face bitter rival Auburn in Jordan-Hare Stadium, Alabama was undefeated and the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. Saban’s team hadn’t lost to the Tigers since the infamous “Kick Six” game in 2013.

Yet, it was Auburn who took the lead through an act of trickeration, a touchdown pass from running back Kerryon Johnson. Although Alabama tied the game up, a buzzer-beating field goal gave the Tigers the lead going into halftime.

MORE: List of FBS College Football National Champions by Year

The Crimson Tide came out swinging in the second half, with a Bo Scarbrough touchdown giving them the first lead of the game. Yet, touchdown runs from quarterback Jarrett Stidham and Johnson combined with a field goal gave Auburn a famous 26-14 win after several failed fourth-down attempts by the Crimson Tide in the fourth quarter.

Not only was it Alabama’s first taste of defeat in 2017, the loss seriously threatened the Crimson Tide’s attack on the 2018 College Football Championship. Without a berth in the SEC Championship Game, Saban and his Alabama team faced an anxious wait for “Selection Sunday” to find out their College Football Playoff fate.

Having been the No. 1 team in the AP and Coaches polls for the duration of the season, and the top-ranked CFP team for the two weeks preceding the game, the Auburn loss dropped the Crimson Tide to fifth across all three rankings outfits.

Controversially, the Crimson Tide leap-frogged 12-1 Wisconsin and beat out 11-2 Big Ten Champion Ohio State and undefeated UCF to book their place in the College Football Playoff. The debate about how teams that lose in their conference championship game continues to rage on in 2022, following USC’s demotion after defeat in the Pac-12 Championship Game — we digress.

Although conversations about Alabama’s worthiness for inclusion in the College Football Playoff didn’t dissipate, they dealt with Clemson in the Sugar Bowl in a largely defensive rematch of the 2017 College Football National Championship Game. The Crimson Tide opened up a 10-point first-quarter lead that they never relinquished, booking a place in the title game against a Georgia team that required overtime to beat Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl.

Missed field goals, big offensive plays, resilient defenses, a quarterback benching, the 2018 College Football National Championship Game had it all.

After posting a scoreless first half, and with Georgia holding a 13-point advantage, Saban replaced Hurts with Tua Tagovailoa in a move that changed the course of college football history. After dragging the Crimson Tide back into the game in regulation, a missed Alabama field goal took the game into overtime.

Georgia opened the scoring on a Rodrigo Blankenship field goal, giving the ball back to the inexperienced Alabama QB, requiring at least a scoring drive to stay alive. When Tua took a sack on the first play of the drive, the Crimson Tide looked to be crushed. However, one play later, he unfurled a sideline bomb to DeVonta Smith for a 42-yard touchdown, giving Alabama the win and prompting commentator Chris Fowler to shriek the immortal line: “The Crimson Tide, will not be denied!!!”