- Will Clemson and Alabama meet in the CFP title game for the fourth time in five years?
- The Tigers are seeking back-to-back championships.
- The Crimson Tide are vying for a sixth crown in 11 seasons.
No disrespect to the Ohio States and Georgias of the world, but two college football programs have set themselves apart from the rest of the field.
Monday’s national championship tilt between the Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide was the third time in four years that these same two programs were playing for the top prize.
But after Clemson ripped ‘Bama 44-16 to claim their second title in three seasons, sportsbooks were a little hesitant to assume both will return to the 2020 title game.
2020 CFP National Championship Matchup Odds
|Will the 2020 title game be Clemson vs Alabama?||Odds at BetOnline|
Tigers-‘Tide Have the Means to Return to Final
These are the two best programs going in college football, and they will, as always, bring a strong recruiting class every spring to join already stacked rosters.
It’s a reason that since the playoff format was adopted in 2014-15, they’ve made the most appearances. Alabama has had perfect attendance, a participant all five years, while Clemson has been at it four straight.
There have been no other teams like Clemson and Alabama the past 4 seasons 🏆🏆🏆🏆 pic.twitter.com/yH7uEUl1uZ
— ESPN (@espn) January 8, 2019
And it’s not like they’re going away any time soon. Early prognosticators list both Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa as the front runners for next year’s Heisman race.
Tua Tagovailoa went off for 5 TD’s against Auburn 🔥 pic.twitter.com/4y0GuoqeO8
— Athlete Swag (@AthleteSwag) November 25, 2018
While Tagovailoa was on fire for most of the season, with a slight stumble at the end, Lawrence built up a steady flame and put it all together on the final stage.
— TRSN College Football (@TRSNCFB) January 8, 2019
With those foundational blocks in place, plus a bevy of 5-stars lined up for their turn, it’s not a stretch to figure these two teams could meet again.
On the sidelines, they’ve both been remarkable in how they’ve built success: Clemson has mainly stayed the course, while the ‘Tide rolls no matter what kind of turnover they seem to face.
Clemson and Dabo out-coached Alabama and Saban…Continuity of the coaching staff is the reason why!
Over the last 4 season (since first Bama/Clem Natty)…Alabama has lost 13 assistant coaches while Clemson has lost 2
Bama 4 diff coordinator combos…Clem same all 4 games
— Joel Klatt (@joelklatt) January 8, 2019
Can the Rest of the Field Catch Up?
There are programs that don’t have the consistency and excellence year in and year out, but could very well throw a wrench into the system in any given year.
Take a team like Georgia, for instance. They’ve been the only non Clemson-Alabama team to make it to the title game in the last four years, and things would have been very different this season if they had just held onto a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead against Alabama in the SEC title game.
77 yards. TO. THE. HOUSE. ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/3GNTrgeYPa
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) November 11, 2018
With a stud running back and returning QB Jake Fromm, the Bulldogs will be in the picture.
Notre Dame went 22-4 (.846) over the last 2 years — 4th-best among the Power-5.
Here's where the Irish rank among the Power-5 in other categories since 2017:
Final AP Top-25 Wins – 7 (t-4th)
AP Top-25 Wins – 7 (t-4th)
FBS Wins – 22 (5th)
Power 5 Wins – 17 (5th)#BertschyBits
— Michael Bertsch (@NDsidBertschy) January 8, 2019
Notre Dame was undefeated last year before getting doused by Clemson in the semi-final, but they also have a program that could be on the cusp of a great run.
And you can never can’t out the Big Ten’s big brother in Ohio State (even with Urban Meyer retiring from coaching) and Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan, while Big 12 programs like Oklahoma and even Texas might find things break right for them.
I just want to take this chance to say Ohio state should have been in pic.twitter.com/7w1BojNEKX
— Darnell Johnson (@2Darnelljohnson) January 8, 2019
The beauty of this format (you know, after the mess of actually finding the four teams that make it to the playoffs), is that these are one game showdowns. All it takes is one sub par or out of this world performance to shake things up. It can’t always be Clemson-Alabama, can it?
What’s the Best Bet?
If you were ever going to make a prediction of two teams meeting in the final, the two teams you want money on are Clemson and Alabama, though taking yes at +350 is definitely a gamble. Not only would they both have to finish in the CFP Selection Committee’s top four, they would also have to avoid each other in the semi-finals. (I.e. if one finishes ranked no. 1, the other cannot finish ranked no. 4. If they finish as the no. 2 and 3 ranked team, that would also kill this bet. )
That being said, betting ‘no’ doesn’t bring much confidence either, with an even less inspiring payout at -550.