Alabama vs. Clemson: CFP National Championship 2019 Odds, More

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 1, 2019

Nick Saban and Tua Tagovailoa are preparing for a powerful Clemson Tigers squad in the national championship game.
Nick Saban and Tua Tagovailoa are preparing for a powerful Clemson Tigers squad in the national championship game.Associated Press

Expanding the College Football Playoff has been one of the hottest subjects for discussion over the last two months.

Arguments are often made for making the four-team CFP an eight-team tournament, and some voices ask for 16 teams.

Would that really be necessary? Especially since Alabama and Clemson are once again meeting for the sport's championship, and these were two teams that were mentioned by most of the college football preview magazines and the sport's experts before the start of the season.

As highly as those two teams have been thought of this year, their play is even better. Both teams have won 14 straight games, and many of their margins have been significant.

Clemson earned its spot in the national championship by pounding undefeated Notre Dame 30-3, while Alabama received somewhat more of a challenge from Oklahoma before it put away the Sooners 45-34.

The Tigers and the Crimson Tide will meet January 7 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, at 8 p.m. ET, and the title game will be televised by ESPN.

These are clearly the two best teams in college football, and it has been fairly obvious since the earliest part of the season.

Alabama comes into this game as a 6.5-point favorite, per OddsShark. While that's a fairly significant number in a championship game, the Crimson Tide are used to double-digit spreads because they normally put dramatically better talent on the field than their opponent.

Trevor Lawrence always looks comfortable in the pocket for Clemson.
Trevor Lawrence always looks comfortable in the pocket for Clemson.Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

But when Nick Saban's team is facing Dabo Swinney's Clemson Tigers, it is a much different story. These two teams met in the 2016 and 2017 national title games, with Alabama winning the first matchup by a 45-40 score, while Clemson won the rematch 35-31.

The two teams also met in last year's CFP semifinal in the Sugar Bowl, and Alabama won that game by a 24-6 score.

The two high-scoring games in the series seem to be the more likely route that will be followed in this year's title game.

Clemson has been an explosive offensive team all season with star quarterback Trevor Lawrence at the helm and Travis Etienne running the ball. The Tigers have scored 40 points or more eight times.

Alabama is led by passing phenom Tua Tagovailoa, who finished second to Kyler Murray in the Heisman voting but had the better numbers in the CFP semifinal. Tagovailoa threw for 318 yards and four touchdowns against the Sooners, while Murray threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns.

Alabama has scored 30 points or more 12 times. Tagovailoa has passed for 3,671 yards with 41 TDs and just four interceptions. Jerry Jeudy is his top receiver, and he has caught 63 passes for 1,176 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Lawrence has thrown for 2,933 yards with 27 touchdowns and four interceptions, while Etienne is a game-changing back who has rushed for 1,573 yards with 22 touchdowns.

While these two teams have regularly won their games by double-digit margins, this game has the appearance of one that could go down to the last possession, giving the sport a most memorable championship showdown.


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