Alabama vs. Clemson: College Football Playoff 2018 Live Stream and TV Information

The Alabama Crimson Tide take on the Clemson Tigers on New Year's Day with a place in the biggest game in college football on the line.

The Sugar Bowl pits one of the college game's best offenses, led by quarterback Kelly Bryant, against perhaps the best defense in the country. It's also a rematch of the National Championship game from 2017, when Deshaun Watson led the Tigers over the Tide. Alabama and Clemson also faced off in the National Title game in 2016, when the Tide won an offensive bonanza 45-40.

This year has shaken down a little differently. Alabama, ranked No. 1 for most of the season, slipped out of the top four with a loss to Auburn on Nov. 25. Victory in the Big Ten title game wasn't enough to get Ohio State in ahead of the Tide, as the fourth and final playoff spot came down to a straight choice between those two schools.

Despite the rankings, Alabama will be the favorite in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Jan. 1 thanks to the experience of its starters, a defense that ranks better than Clemson's in almost every metric and its big-game record, despite last year's National Championship defeat.

The game also pits Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney against one another once again. Swinney, the 48-year-old Tigers head coach, began his coaching career at Alabama in the early 1990s. While there is mutual respect between the two, the contrasts between them are marked and interesting. Swinney, young and ebullient, emphasises the importance of fun in the way Clemson goes about playing football. Saban is wizened and more taciturn. Pete Carroll vs. Bill Belichick isn't a perfect NFL comparison but it may be in the ballpark. Most importantly, both coaches have built winning machines.

The Sugar Bowl will be broadcast live on ESPN, with kickoff at 8.45 p.m. ET on Monday. WatchESPN, the network's live-streaming service, is the place to go if you can't gain access to a television in time.