Alabama and Clemson will meet in college football’s 2017 National Championship Game on Monday in a rematch of last season’s thrilling title game.
The Crimson Tide have won 26 games dating back to last season, blowing through the SEC and Washington in the College Football Playoff semifinal to put them on the cusp of another championship. Last season, they topped the Tigers 45-40 to win a fourth national title in seven years.
Clemson came out of the gate a little slow in 2016 and lost to Pitt in November, but reached the College Football Playoff after beating Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game and waxed Ohio State 31-0 in the Fiesta Bowl to setup a rematch with Alabama.
Here’s everything you need to know about the 2017 National Championship Game between Alabama and Clemson.
What time does the college football National Championship Game between Clemson and Alabama start?
Clemson and Alabama are set to kickoff shortly after 8 p.m. ET. on Monday, Jan. 9.
What TV channel is showing Clemson and Alabama in the 2017 national title game?
ESPN will carry the normal broadcast of Clemson-Alabama, but is offering fans more than just that.
On ESPN2, Joe Tessitore and Adam Amin are joined by former Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and former Alabama center Barrett Jones. Both ex-players will be pulling for their teams.
On ESPNews, Syracuse’s Dino Babers, Minnesota’s P.J. Fleck, former Oregon coach Mark Helfrich, Colorado’s Mike MacIntrye and Baylor’s Matt Rhule will break down the X’s and O’s during the game
On ESPNU, ESPN commentators and personalities sitting together watching the game, in what the network calls a “living room-type setting.” They include Michelle Beadle, Keyshawn Johnson, Bill Walton, and Marcellus Wiley.
SEC Network will carry the Finebaum Film Room, where Paul Finebaum, Booger McFarland, and former Alabama QB Greg McElroy take calls from fans and viewers during the game. Florida coach Jim McElwain will also join them.
ESPN Classic will show “Sounds of the Game” — there are no commentators, but plenty of audio from the stadium.
How can I watch Clemson-Alabama in the college football National Championship Game online?
ESPN3 will have plenty of ways to watch Clemson-Alabama, including hometown radio broadcasts played over the TV broadcast, a standard simulcast, ESPN’s Sky Cam and more.
Which announcers are calling Clemson-Alabama?
ESPN’s Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit will be in the both with Samantha Ponder and Tom Rinaldi on the sideline.
National Championship Game preview: Clemson-Alabama
5. Steve Sarkisian attack
Nick Saban booted the Lane Train in favor of a Sark Attack. For those of you living under a rock, Lane Kiffin won’t coach Alabama’s offense in the national championship game.
Steve Sarkisian, who Saban hired to replace Kiffin, will step in early and lead the Crimson Tide against Clemson. That means instead of having to wait until next season to see how Saban and Sarkisian will interact on the sideline, we’ll get a crash course on Monday.
Sarkisian hasn’t called plays in over a year, so it’ll be interesting to see how the offense flows. Saban and the players have talked all week about how things won’t change much, but don’t be surprised if we see a new wrinkle or two against the Tigers.
4. Run the dang ball with Bo Scarbrough
Sarkisian’s first order of business should be to give Clemson a steady diet of Bo Scarbrough, Damien Harris and Joshua Jacobs.
In other words, run the dang ball. Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts didn’t play his best game against Washington and the offense relied heavily on the running game, particularly Scarbrough. Scarbrough had the best game of his career against the Huskies, running for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Alabama must create offensive balance to take pressure off Hurts. That starts with running the ball and setting up play-action to keep Clemson’s talented defense guessing.
3. Calling all playmakers
Saban talked during his Wednesday news conference about how Alabama needs to get more playmakers involved in the offense. Outside of Scarbrough, no other skill player gained more than 50 yards against Washington.
O.J. Howard was the leading receiver with 4 catches. No other player had more than one, according to the final stat book.
It took a complete team effort for Alabama to beat Clemson last season. That may be the case again this year, which means the Tide’s offense must play its best game of the season.
2. Time to prove it
Alabama’s defense clearly has a chip on its shoulder. Clemson amassed 40 points and 550 yards of offense in the title game last season.
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson threw for 405 yards and 4 touchdowns to just 1 interception. He also ran for 73 yards.
If Alabama’s defense wants to avenge last season’s performance and show it’s one of Saban’s best ever, it will have to stop Watson and Co. on Monday.
1. Alabama chasing history
Alabama is one win from becoming the first team in college football history to finish a season 15-0. This group also would be just the second team during Saban’s tenure to finish without a loss (2009).
We’ve talked all year about how this is potentially Saban’s best team at Alabama. Now it’s time for the Tide to make history.