The biggest game of the 2018 NCAA College Football Season has arrived as the Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tigers get set to square off on January 7th, 2019 in the CFP National Championship game. While this game on paper looks much like Déjà vu after meeting in each of the three previous CFP playoffs with each team winning one National Championship (Alabama defeated Clemson last season in the ALL-State Sugar Bowl the first round of the playoffs), the 2019 meeting still presents excitement for the teams, their fans and sports handicappers looking to cash in on the contest.
For these two teams, this could be their first real tests of the 2018 NCAA Football season including the College Football Playoffs. The Tigers rolled to an impressive 13-0 record during the regular season including a 42-10 rout of Pitt Panthers in the ACC Championship Game. In all over that stretch the Tigers won 11 of 13 contests all by at least 20 points with their only two single digit wins coming against Texas A&M Aggies and the Syracuse Orange (both ranked at times during the 2018 NCAA season). The success continued in the College Football Playoff semi-final matchup as they defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 30-3 in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl.
Meanwhile the same type of success showed up in the resume of the Crimson Tide after rolling to a 13-0 record during their regular season schedule. The Crimson Tide won 12 of 13 contests by double digits with their only single digit win coming against number four ranked the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Contest. That success including impressive 22 point win against the 22nd ranked Aggies, 29-0 shutout of number three ranked LSU Tigers and a 24-0 shutout against number 16th ranked Mississippi State. Over the weekend the Crimson Tide added a 13th double digit win in the Capital One Orange Bowl against the Oklahoma Sooners (45-34). Now as the two teams get set for the National Championship Contest, only wonders what Dabo Swinney and Nick Saban will have in their plans to shut down one another.
Head to Head History
The Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tigers will square off for the fourth straight season during the College Football Playoffs on Monday Night. Last season the Crimson Tide picked up the 24-6 win in the All-State Sugar Bowl during the Semi-Finals of the playoffs. The previous two meetings before that matchup both came in the National Championship Contest. The first of two meetings took place on January 11th, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona with the Crimson Tide picking up the 45-40 victory. The second meeting took place on January 9th, 2016 in Tampa, Florida with the Tigers picking up the 35-31 win. Prior to these three meetings, the two met just once during the 80’s, 90s and 2000’s (2008, Crimson Tide won 56-0). Overall the Crimson Tide is 14-4 against the Tigers.
Here are the keys to the game for both the Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoffs National Championship presented by AT&T on Monday January 7th, 2019 at 8pm ET.
NCAA Keys to the Game
Clemson Tigers – Be Aggressive on Both Sides of the Football
The blueprint to beat the Alabama Crimson Tide has not been written this season and it will be a hard one to design leading into the National Championship Game on Monday Night. For the Tigers, the team needs to continue to be aggressive on both sides of the football. On the offensive side of the football, look to take chances early while getting creative to confuse the Crimson Tides defensive game plan. On the defensive side of the ball, play fast and aggressive while forcing Tua Tagovailoa to move around and test his ankle that is not 100% healthy.
Alabama Crimson Tide – Dominate the Line of Scrimmage
The Crimson Tide is as good if not better than every team in College Football in nearly all aspects of the game. That said, on Monday Night the Crimson Tide will need to dominate the line of scrimmage allowing their offense to move the ball down field while erupting the Tigers flow on the on the offensive side of the ball. On offense, the Tide must protect Tagovailoa against a Tigers defense that posted six sacks against the Fighting Irish last weekend. On the defense side, if the Crimson Tide can get into the backfield it should help them put pressure on Trevor Lawrence while slowing down the Tigers rushing attack (211 yards on 37 carries against Notre Dame).
NCAA Betting Trends
Clemson Tigers - The Tigers enter this contest sitting with an 8-6 record against the spread this season but have been red hot of late after covering in just one of their first four contests. Since that point the Tigers have posted an impressive 7-3 record against the spread while covering on the road in four of their five road contests this season. Along with that success the Tigers have covered the spread in eight of their last nine contests in the postseason including both bowl and playoff games. The team has also posted a 13-3 record against the spread in contests on neutral sites. On the downside, the Tigers have failed to cover the spread in five of their last six contests outside of the ACC conference.
Alabama Crimson Tide – Despite dominating in nearly every contest this season the Crimson Tide posted just an 8-6 record against the spread including a 4-3 record on the road. Along with struggles, the Crimson Tide have covered the spread in just one of their last six bowl and playoff games in the month of January (won 2 of the last 3 National Championships). However the Crimson Tide has had a ton of success against the ACC conference covering the spread in seven of their last nine contests against those teams.