2019 National Championship Preview: Everything You Need to Know About Alabama vs Clemson
After all the debate about the playoffs last month, we've ultimately wound up with the matchup we all expected before the season. No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Clemson will play once again for the national championship on Monday night.
It's the fourth straight year that the Tide and Tigers have met in the College Football Playoff and it's the third time in the championship game. Alabama won in 2015 and 2017 while Clemson claimed the victory in 2016. This year's winner will not only take home the title, but they will also become the first FBS team to finish the season with a perfect 15-0 record.
We're all set for what should be an all-timer in Santa Clara and we're here to get you ready for the final game of the season.
No. 1 Alabama (14-0, SEC Champions) vs No. 2 Clemson (14-0, ACC Champions)
When: Monday, January 7 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA
Weather: Conditions might not be ideal for Monday's game. Temperatures are expected to be in the 50s with a slight chance of rain along with winds between 7 and 12 mph.
TV: ESPN (Play-by-play: Chris Fowler, analyst: Kirk Herbstreit, sideline reporters: Laura Rutledge, Maria Taylor)
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (Play-by-play: Eli Gold, color analyst: John Parker Wilson, sideline reporter: Rashad Johnson). Listen on 95.3 the Bear and Tide 102.9/100.9 in Tuscaloosa or download the station apps to stream the game for free.
Spread: The Crimson Tide opened as a 7-point favorite but it's dropped down to -5.5. The total for this game opened at 60 and only dropped a half-point over the past week.
Series History: This will be the 19th meeting between the two schools with Alabama leading the all-time series, 14-4. Clemson won the first three meetings in 1900, 1904, and 1905, but it's been all Alabama since. The Tide has won 13 of the past 14 meetings, but the past four are the most important. In 2008, Nick Saban's team made a national statement by opening the season with a 34-10 win over Tommy Bowden's top-10 team. That result led to Dabo Swinney taking over the program and bringing them to national prominence, where he'll face Alabama for the fourth straight season in the playoff.
Last Meeting: It took place only one year ago, but so much about those two teams is different than what we'll see on Monday. Kelly Bryant and Jalen Hurts were the starting quarterbacks in last year's semifinal game at the Sugar Bowl. Alabama got off to a quick, 10-0 start in the first quarter before Clemson cut it to 10-6 early in the second half. The Crimson Tide got touchdowns from two defensive players - Da'Ron Payne's 1-yard catch and Mack Wilson's 18-yard interception - to close out the Tigers and advance to the national championship game for the third straight year. Defense was the story in this one as both teams combined for just 449 yards, which is a number we could see from each team this year.
Last Game: Semifinal Saturday began with Clemson and Notre Dame facing in the Cotton Bowl. Both teams got off to an even start after a quarter but quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the Tigers showed their dominance with three touchdown passes to take a 23-3 lead into halftime. Notre Dame could get very little going all game and finished the afternoon with only 248 yards of total offense. Clemson, meanwhile, rolled up 538 yards of offense, converted 50% of its third downs, and walked out a 30-3 winner.
Fans hoping for a more competitive semifinal in the Orange Bowl didn't get their wish. Alabama and Tua Tagovailoa made a statement early by scoring four straight touchdowns to start the game, leaving the Heisman winner with a huge hole to climb out of. Kyler Murray made some plays and got Oklahoma to 11 points on a couple of occasions, but the Tide would respond with a scoring drive to keep the Sooners at arm's length all night. Alabama would move on to another College Football Playoff National Championship Game with a 45-34 win.