Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones fell short in the Heisman voting to his teammate DeVonta Smith, but he plays the most important position in football and his play could determine whether Alabama or the Ohio State Buckeyes win a national title on Monday night.
Jones is coming into this game, completing 77% of his passes for 4,036 yards with 36 touchdowns and four interceptions. Taking over for Tua Tagovailoa this season, he guided Alabama to the national title game with an undefeated season so far.
As he heads into the most important game of his life, let’s take a look at Jones’ ceiling and floor heading into the championship game.
The ceiling is about as high as it gets for Jones and this Alabama offense. The Crimson Tide have three players who finished in the top five of the Heisman Trophy voting at the skill positions with Jones, Smith and running back Najee Harris. Keep in mind, star wide receiver Jaylen Waddle could also suit up for this game. He hasn’t played since the middle of October.
Jones has a lot going for him including Ohio State not being great against the pass, allowing 7.3 yards per attempt, which ranks 60th in all of college football this season. Jones very well could go over the 400-yard mark, which he has done a few times this season, and throw five touchdown passes. If that happens and the Buckeyes secondary cannot figure out how to stop Smith it’s difficult to see Ohio State keeping up.
Well, we haven’t really seen much of a floor from Jones so far this season. Alabama’s season low for the season came in the College Football Playoff semifinal against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, scoring 31 points. In that game, Jones had just five incompletions, threw for 297 yards and four touchdowns. Alabama reached the 40-point mark in all but two games this season, all against Power 5 competition.
The floor would be Jones failing to reach 300 yards passing with multiple interceptions. If that happens, it means Ohio State clearly figured something out defensively that no other team has done this year against the Crimson Tide. Jones has just four interceptions on the season, and he never had more than one in a single game. If the worst-case-scenario happens, Alabama fans should be worried.