For the third year in a row, Alabama and Clemson will clash in the college football playoffs. Only where the last two meetings were in the national championship, this one, the Sugar Bowl, will be for a spot in college football’s ultimate game.
Here’s everything you need to know to watch the rubber match:
Live Stream Info
The Sugar Bowl is scheduled for Monday, January 1, at 8:45 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN. That means you can watch a live stream via WatchESPN if you have a cable log-in, but if you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch ESPN online, on your phone or on another streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services. They cost a monthly fee but all come with a free trial, so you can watch Oklahoma vs Georgia and Clemson vs Alabama at no cost:
DirecTV Now: ESPN is included in all four channel packages. It comes with a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, plus you can get $25 off your first month if you enter promo code “BDAY2017”. You can watch on your computer via your browser, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app
Sling TV: ESPN is included in the “Sling Orange” channel package. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial right here. You can watch on your computer via the Sling website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app
PlayStation Vue: ESPN is included in all four channel packages. You can sign up for a free 5-day trial right here. You can watch on your computer via the PS Vue website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the PlayStation Vue app
Also note: You can also watch on your computer via the WatchESPN website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the WatchESPN app. When you’re asked to verify your cable provider, you’ll just use your DirecTV Now, Sling TV or PS Vue credentials to sign in
As has been the case the last two years, Alabama enters their annual game against Clemson boasting arguably the nation’s most formidable defense. With future NFL players scattered throughout the field, the Crimson Tide rank first in the country in yards per play allowed (4.0), second in yards per game allowed (267.8) and first in points per game (12.5).
Of course, Clemson has been the one team able to solve Nick Saban’s stout defense, averaging 37.5 points and an absurd 530.5 yards from scrimmage in the previous two national championship matchups against the Tide. The Tigers are obviously without several key pieces that put up those numbers, most notably Deshaun Watson, but it’s clear that Dabo Swinney has little trouble game-planning against this ferocious defense.
On the other side of the ball, Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts has shown a propensity to make big plays, but it still comes down to the running game, where the Tide average 6.0 yards per carry (fifth in the country) and 265.4 yards per game (ninth) behind Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough and Hurts.
“You’re not going to get them down with arm tackles or being out of your gap, stepping the wrong way, putting your hands in the wrong spots,” Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. “They’ll expose you. With some teams, there’s a margin for error. You can step wrong, you can okey-doke a block. These are the best of the best in college football, blocking you and carrying the football.”
The Tigers defense has been nothing short of dominant this season, holding opponents to just 3.2 yards per carry and 109.3 yards on the ground per game, but this, obviously, will serve as their biggest test of the year.
Alabama is favored by three points, but it’s hard to read too much into that. They’ve been favored by 6.5 points in each of the last two meetings, and those both came down to the final possessions. We can only hope that the third in this trilogy is equally as entertaining.