CFP National Championship 2019: CFP championship game by the numbers: Alabama vs Clemson. Here are five keys to No. 2 Clemson toppling No. 1 Alabama in the final game of the season. In the buildup to Monday’s CFP National Championship, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said he’s not surprised to see Alabama.
The coaches haven’t changed, the uniforms look the same and the fan bases are as fervent as ever for the college football national championship. And two familiar teams will meet again. Top-ranked Alabama will meet No. 2 Clemson for the NCAA title Monday night.
This marks the fourth-consecutive season the teams have met in the College Football Playoffs. The Alabama Crimson Tide beat the Clemson Tigers in the 2016 championship game following the 2015 season. Clemson beat Alabama in the 2017 final (following the 2016 season), and Alabama beat Clemson in the semifinal for the 2017 season.
Now, after both teams played most of the season as the top two squads, and both winning their semifinal bowl games, they meet again. No. 1 Alabama beat No. 4 Oklahoma, 45-34, in the Orange Bowl while No. 2 Clemson beat No. 3 Notre Dame, 30-3, in the Cotton Bowl.
Alabama (14-0) and Clemson (14-0) are as balanced as any two teams can get. They both have proven, young quarterbacks and top-notch defenses. They are battle-tested and now, thanks to LSU disposing of Central Florida, the only unranked FBS teams remaining.
Alabama has been the team to beat all season long after throttling SEC opposition, including back-to-back shutouts of LSU and Mississippi State, and wins over Texas A&M, Missouri, Auburn and Georgia. Clemson struggled early in the season, but proved its mettle with wins over Syracuse, South Carolina and Pittsburgh.
Clemson has a true freshman at quarterback in Trevor Lawrence. He became the starter before midseason and has sparked the Tigers offense. The Tigers have a bevy of playmakers, and the defense might be as good as it gets — even without defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence.
Alabama has relied upon the arm and legs of sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, a quartet of talented receivers, a beefy offensive line and one of coach Nick Saban’s best defenses to date
It sounds repetitive to say the national title game might be one for the ages, but these are two teams who have grown to hate, and respect, each other. They have separated themselves from the rest of college football, and this marks the first time in the five years of the CFP era that two undefeated teams meet in the final.