An entire season's worth of football has culminated into one last game to decide supremacy in the FBS, and the two teams involved likely could have been predicted before the season even began.
It's likely, because this is exactly how the CFP National Championship shaped up last season.
Alabama and Clemson will square off in a rematch of last year's championship almost one year to the day of the Crimson Tide's 45-40 victory over the Tigers. Can Nick Saban capture his sixth career national championship? Can Dabo Swinney pull off the upset and ruin Alabama's perfect season?
Here is how the two teams match up heading into Monday night.
No. 1 Alabama (-7) vs. No. 2 Clemson
WHEN: Monday, Jan. 9, 8:00 PM ET - Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.
WHERE TO WATCH: U.S. - ESPN, Canada - TSN 1/4/5
HOW THEY STACK UP
|CFP Ranking||No. 1||No. 2|
|Points||39.4 (T-14th)||39.5 (13th)|
|Points Against||11.8 (1st)||18.4 (12th)|
|Total Offense (yards)||461 (31st)||503 (12th)|
|Passing Yards||214.2 (81st)||332.6 (7th)|
|Rushing Yards||246.7 (11th)||173.1 (66th)|
|Total Defense||248 (1st)||314 (9th)|
|Passing Yards Allowed||184.5 (15th)||188.2 (19th)|
|Rushing Yards Allowed||63.4 (1st)||125.8 (22nd)|
|Turnover Margin||plus-8 (23rd)||plus-1 (T-64th)|
WHY ALABAMA COULD WIN
The old adage says "defense wins championships," and Alabama's defensive corps has been in another stratosphere compared to the rest of the FBS.
The Crimson Tide enter Monday's national championship game No. 1 in total defense in all of college football, also ranking tops in the nation in points allowed and rushing yards allowed. Jalen Hurts has shown incredible poise as a true freshman under college football's brightest light, and Bo Scarbrough's beastly performance in the Peach Bowl will have Clemson's defensive line on alert from the get-go.
The combination of offensive and defensive efficiency has proved to be too much for 14 other teams this season, and Clemson could be added to that list come Monday night.
WHY CLEMSON COULD WIN
Alabama gets a lot of praise for its defensive prowess, and rightfully so, but Clemson's defense is nothing to overlook either.
Carlos Watkins, Christian Wilkins, and Ben Boulware headline a defense that ranked in the top 10 in total defense this season and No. 12 in points allowed. The Tigers have shown the ability to neutralize successful offenses this season - notably against Louisville, Florida State, and Ohio State - and can keep Alabama out of the end zone if they deny Hurts the opportunity to extend plays and for Scarbrough to gain yards after contact.
IMPACT PLAYER TO WATCH - Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Clemson is going to need Deshaun Watson to have the game of his career in order to beat Alabama. It's that simple.
The Crimson Tide defense is going to have to be put under more pressure than it has been all season. Watson and the Tigers' offense may be the only ones in the nation who can get it done. Clemson's star quarterback will need to have his legs under him and his head on a swivel if he's thinking about eluding the likes of Jonathan Allen and Co., but it's not out of the question for Watson to rise to the occasion.
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