College football fans will be treated to Alabama-Clemson Part IV in just over a week. According to the Action Network, Alabama opens as a 6.5 point favorite over Clemson ahead of their 2019 national title matchup, while the over-under is set at 59.5.
The Alabama-Clemson title game will take place on Monday, January 7, 2019 at 8 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. SuperbookUSA released an early line on the potential championship game back in November. Alabama was favored by 8.5 points over Clemson in the early odds.
For most of the season, it appeared as though this was the matchup we were destined to see once again. The 2019 game marks the fourth straight meeting in the College Football Playoff between the two teams. Three of these four matchups have been for the national title. Last year’s Sugar Bowl matchup was the exception as it was a semifinal game. The Crimson Tide have won two of the three matchups.
Alabama Will Play Clemson for the 4th Consecutive Year in the College Football Playoff
Both teams are undefeated but have taken slightly different paths to get to the title game. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney gave the reins of the offense to freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence early in the season. Lawrence has given the Tigers’ offense an added dimension that it did not have with Kelly Bryant under center.
Alabama spent the offseason embracing a quarterback competition of their own after Tua Tagovailoa led the Crimson Tide to a comeback victory in the 2018 national title game against Georgia. Tagovailoa beat out Jalen Hurts prior to the start of the 2018 season. Tagovailoa overcame a high ankle sprain to play in the Orange Bowl against Oklahoma.
After the game, Tagovailoa described his ankle as “uncertain” admitting he was not at full speed against the Sooners.
Both Alabama & Clemson Had Blowout Wins in Their Semifinal Matchups
Nick Saban may disagree but both teams had decisive victories in their semifinal playoff matchups. Alabama allowed a few late scores to Oklahoma, but the Crimson Tide still won by 11 points. Even when the Sooners made their late run, Alabama still looked to be in control of the game.
Clemson’s matchup with Notre Dame was a bit more declarative. The Tigers defeated the Irish 30-3 in the Orange Bowl. Clemson’s defense looked dominant despite being without defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence who was suspended after testing positive for a banned substance.
Tua Tagovailoa’s Ankle Will Get a More Challenging Test Against Clemson’s Defense
Tagovailoa admitted his ankle is a work in progress, and the Alabama quarterback will receive an even more difficult test in the title game against Clemson’s defense. Tagovailoa will have a little more than a week to recover from the Orange Bowl and try to get healthy for the championship matchup.
Leading up to the Alabama-Oklahoma clash, Tagovailoa described his status as “80 to 85 percent.” The good news for Alabama is they have a more than capable backup in Hurts as we saw in the SEC title game against Georgia.