The tantalizing matchup has evolved into one of the most recognizable aspects of the calendar.
You know a new year has just kicked off when Alabama and Clemson are going at it with big-time implications on the line.
Round 4 promises to be just as intriguing as the previous showdowns.
When Alabama (14-0) and Clemson (14-0) take the field in the 2019 National Championship Game on Jan. 7, it will mark their fourth matchup in the College Football Playoff and third time squaring off for the title.
The stage is set, and this matchup looks familiar. 👀@AlabamaFTBL vs. @ClemsonFB for the #NationalChampionship Monday Jan. 7 @LevisStadium! #CFBPlayoff // #RollTide // #ALLIN pic.twitter.com/YXKtOTJ5Bd
— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) December 30, 2018
On Jan. 11, 2016, Alabama defeated Clemson 45-40 in the national title game. Clemson got revenge on Jan. 9, 2017 by beating Alabama 35-31 to claim their first national title since 1981.
Last season on Jan. 1, 2018, Alabama knocked off Clemson 24-6 in the CFP semifinals en route to winning the national title.
Dating back to the beginning of the 2015 season, Alabama is 55-3 and Clemson is 54-4.
As the rivalry has developed, the programs similarities in terms of culture, recruiting and work ethic have come into view.
“I think it’s fascinating,” ESPN host Paul Finebaum said to AL.com. “But what is even more fascinating is they are essentially the same school…I mean you go to Clemson and spend the day and you’d think you’re in Tuscaloosa.”
Alabama coach Nick Saban is extremely complimentary of how Dabo Swinney has transformed Clemson into a perennial power.
“They’ve done just as good a job as anybody in the country when it comes to what they’ve been able to accomplish over the last decade in terms of consistency and performance each and every year,” Saban said to AL.com. “It’s just a really, really good program.”
Clemson was once viewed nationally as an afterthought. Now the Tigers are garnering genuine respect based on their sustained success, as the Crimson Tide keep track from afar.
Swinney believes the rivalry is healthy for college football.
“Well, I mean, it’s the two best teams, and I think that’s the objective — is to get the two best teams to play for the national championship,” Swinney said on ESPN’s College GameDay according to USA Today. “And I think both of these teams have earned that. And so I think if that’s the case, then that’s good.”
Heading into the season, this was the projection for the national title game. While other fan bases might be tired of the annual outcome, Alabama and Clemson are in a class of their own until they’re dethroned.
“If you back to July and August, everyone said the same thing: These are the two best teams in the country,” Finebaum said to AL.com. “And they are.”
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) January 3, 2019
On Monday night, one team will suffer their lone loss of the season while the other cradles the crystal trophy.
“Playing for all the marbles again,” Alabama safety Deionte Thompson said to AL.com. “This is what you expect…It’s a rivalry brewing.”
And one that doesn’t appear to have an end in sight.