Take a look at the teams atop the College Football Playoff Rankings. You’ve got Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, Washington and Ohio State.

In other words, you’ve got Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney, Jim Harbaugh, Chris Pedersen and Urban Meyer. All great coaches, all with similar philosophies.

“There’s some commonalities between the national champions when you go back all the way to the start of the BCS era in 1998,” Aaron Taylor said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “It takes defenses to win. When you look at the average defensive ranking for total defense of those teams, it’s 11. If you back out the one outlier, which was Auburn in 2010, it drops down to a top-10 defense where the average ranking is eight. The more the football changes, the more it stays the same. You have to a), be able to play good defense and stop the run, and b) you have to be able to run the ball and finish games. When you look at the teams at the top of the college football playoff and historically who have had what it takes to go on, they are teams that block well, they are teams that tackle well, they are teams that stop the run and they are able to find a running game where they have that physicality. That is the key element.”

That may be why some programs – such as Oregon, Baylor and Oklahoma – have come short in big moments in recent years.

“Going fast and the hurry-up no-huddle spread – I think the hurry-up no-huddle spread is dead for teams that are serious about competing for the national championship because of the way it requires you to practice often – not always, but often – requires you to eliminate the physicality of it where you’re not doing a 9-on-7 inside run drill,” Taylor said. “So when we look back at history and when we look back at what’s starting to emerge this year, my belief is that that will hold up. The team that will win the national championship this year is the one that’s going to play the best defense, is able to stop the run and can run the football. That’s why, in my opinion, Alabama is very deserving of that No. 1 spot, and I think they hold it there all the way through.”


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