Brendan Fitzgibbons
Brendan Fitzgibbons


Monday Jan. 9, 8:00 ET on ESPN

Raymond James Stadium

The grueling college football season comes to a climatic finish on Monday January 9 in the College Football Championship game that features a rematch of last year’s title game, Alabama vs. Clemson. And like most sequels (except the “Dark Knight,” “Back to the Future 2,” and the Mach 5 razor) expect this game to be a slowly deflating letdown, like a beanbag chair you’ve been sitting in for too long and now you can’t see out of it.

At 14-0, this year’s Crimson Tide might be Nick Saban’s best team, to the point where many are wondering if Alabama will ever lose again and is Forrest Gump still on the team? The answer is most likely ‘no’ and ‘no, he had to go to Vietnam for Jenny.’ Alabama’s defense is flat out nasty and not in an I-got-sick-on-a-whale-watching-tour-in-Mexico kind of way. They lead the country in total, rushing and scoring defense, and their offense packs a steady, methodical punch lead by quarterback Jalen Hurts and running backs Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough.

And if we’ve learned anything these last 10 years, other than America is very confused, it’s never ever bet against Nick Saban. Since joining the Tide in 2007, the coach is a staggering 106-12, and with a win on Monday, it’d be his FIFTH National Championship with the team. Saban wins so much that he could walk into any retirement home at any point and would immediately get Bingo.

For Clemson to have any chance to even come close to their 45-40 defeat in last year’s title game, quarterback and two-time Heisman finalist, Deshaun Watson has to have the game of his life. For 48 straight minutes, Watson basically has to play like how Beyoncé sings all the time. If that happens, expect a huge game from standout wide out Mike Williams and running back Wayne Gallman.

I would give Clemson more of a shot if their coach wasn’t named Dabo Swinney and he didn’t look like a skinny Bradley Cooper. The good news for college football fans is that the contest does come with a swarm of hype, as tickets for the game are the most in demand in the history of the CFP. So who knows what’s going to happen? But one thing is for certain Dabo is still going to be Dabo.