Clemson will be without three key players on Monday night as defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, tight end Braden Galloway, and offensive lineman Zach Giella are ineligible after failing drug tests. Lawrence figures to be a first round draft pick in the NFL but Clemson was able to throttle Notre Dame without his services. They certainly could use that kind of talent against the Crimson Tide.
Coverage of the game will start on ESPN at 8 p.m. but don’t expect the actual kickoff to be until 8:16 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The game will end at approximately 11:43 p.m. Eastern Standard Time without overtime.
ESPN will have the main telecast with ESPN2 showing the Field Pass version of the broadcast. ESPNNews will broadcast the Monday Night Football Film Room show with an in-depth look at the title game. ESPN3 will have the hometown calls from Alabama and Clemson as well as a skycam, blimpcam and TechCast option.
Alabama will have its star defensive lineman on the field in the National title game as Quinnen Williams will look to add to his already impressive campaign this season. Williams recorded 67 tackles and eight sacks this season.
There is plenty of historical significance to Monday night’s title game. Alabama head coach Nick Saban can move ahead of Bear Bryant for the most college national championships in history with a win. Saban is currently tied with Bryant at six.
“Did we think that we would be able to get the kind of results that we’ve had the opportunity with over the last few years?” Saban told CBS Sports. “Did I have some vision that we’re going to win a national championship someday or whatever? No, not really.”
Saban has been able to get this Crimson Tide team back to the national championship game despite losing a remarkable sixteen players to the NFL last year.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney will be looking to make his own history as he eyes his second national championship. Swinney and the Tigers upended Alabama two years ago in the title game. Swinney is a former Alabama coach having been a graduate assistant at the school from 1993-95 and having served in various offensive coaching roles up until 2000. In 2003 he joined the Clemson staff as a wide receivers coach before being named head coach in 2009. He has developed a friendship with Saban over the years.
“For me, I don’t think it’s that unusual,” Saban said of his friendship with Swinney. “We have a history together. He has history at Alabama. We have history together personally. You know, we spend time sometimes in the off-season. We have homes at the same place in Florida. I know his family well. He knows my family well. We have a lot of mutual friends.