NEW ORLEANS, LA (WSFA) - It's the day fans of the Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers have been waiting on since Dec. 3. The day of the 2018 Allstate Sugar Bowl is here, and it's also the College Football Playoff Semifinal.
Fans of both teams can't forget the recent history the two teams share. Two straight meetings in the National Championship, with both games being decided by a combined nine points. Alabama won 45-40 in 2016, Clemson bested the Tide 35-31 in the final seconds in 2017.
Maybe perhaps there is even more hype going into Monday night's game with the stakes being, winner goes on to play for the National Championship.
Two head coaches - Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney. One with legacy and the other building a legacy of his own year after year.
The game will boast two of the top defenses in the nation. Alabama ranks second in total defense, Clemson sixth. The Crimson Tide ranks third in rushing defense, the Tigers 12th. Alabama sixth in pass defense and Clemson seventh.
"I think they're very innovative in some of the things they do offensively which makes it very hard to defend," said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. "I think they do a good job of utilizing the personnel that they have. Very talented on defense, create a lot of problems for you. They're very aggressive in how they play."
Swinney knows that if you're going to play Alabama, a healthy team is a must.
"We're very fortunate to come off of three or four-plus weeks to be a healthy football team, so we;re where we want to be going into it," said Swinney.
No. 4 Alabama and No. 1 Clemson will clash inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Monday night at 7:45 p.m. on ESPN.