Granted, this is coming from the same man who moved up in the 2007 draft to get his mitts on Notre Dame's Brady Quinn, but former Browns GM and current Senior Bowl Executive Director, Phil Savage, knows what many in Columbus have known since before the season started: Ohio State is stacked to the gills with talent.
Are they on Alabama's level? Well, not yet. Nick Saban has been toiling at Alabama since Urban Meyer was at Florida, after all. But, the talent gap isn't as wide as some analysts or commentators — like, say, CBS' Gary Danielson — seem to think.
IMO, in 2012, ND had 6 starters that could "play" for Alabama. In 2014, I see at least 16 OSU Buckeyes who would be in the mix for the Tide.— Phil Savage (@SeniorBowlPhil) December 31, 2014
Notre Dame, of course, was buried in the same grave as Manti Te'o's girlfriend after getting clowned by Alabama on national television in the 2013 title game.
And while it's hard to give 100% analysis to Savage's analysis without knowing the list of 16 Buckeyes that would "be in the mix at Alabama," it does speak to Urban's efforts in recruiting and developing talent in a mere three years on the job.
Savage also seems to think the game could hinge on a stat I haven't heard bandied about elsewhere:
I will watch that stat, Phil. Thanks for looking out, man.