Second-ranked Alabama takes on top-ranked, undefeated Clemson Monday, and college football fans can watch live streaming video online as the National Championship Game pits the Crimson Tide and the Tigers against each other for the first time since 2008 and 15th time in the history of the two southern football powerhouses — but for the first time ever in a postseason game, and of course, first time with the national championship on the line.
Clemson has not won the top prize in college football since 1981, the only officially recognized NCAA national championship in the school's history. Alabama, on the other hand, is recognized by the NCAA as 12-time national champs, though the school itself claims 15 titles, dating back to an era when various organizations recognized differing champions.
The Crimson Tide most recently took back-to-back national championships under head coach Nick Saban in 2011 and 2012.
The all-time series between Alabama and Clemson dates back to 1900, with the two schools facing each other 15 times in the past 116 years. Alabama has dominated the rivalry, winning 12 times — the last 12 straight since 1909 — to just three for the Clemson Tigers, who have not defeated the Crimson Tide since 1905.
But the early 1970s saw a new era for southern college football, and for Alabama and Clemson — desegregation. Until 1970 for Clemson and 1971 for Alabama, neither team had ever included African-American players on their rosters.
Since desegregating, the two teams have met only twice. In 1975, Alabama crushed Clemson 56-0, and then in 2008 (the game pictured above) in the season-opening college football "kickoff game," Alabama prevailed again, 34-10.
On Monday night, most experts, and Las Vegas oddsmakers, favor Alabama to make it 13 wins in a row over Clemson, and to capture the Tide's third national championship in five years. Vegas sees Alabama as seven-point favorites.
Find out how the ESPN First Take experts see the Alabama vs. Clemson game, in the video below.
To find out how to watch the Alabama vs. Clemson College Football Playoff National Championship Game live online, see the streaming links at the bottom of this article. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on Monday, January 11. That's 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time, 7:30 p.m. Central.
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If the Clemson Tigers plan to overcome the odds against them, they'll need to figure out some way to put the brakes on 21-year-old Heisman Trophy-winning runner Derrick Henry. But even though Henry rushed for an astounding 2,061 yards and 25 touchdowns at 5.7 yards per carry, he was held to just 75 yards in Alabama's destruction of Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl on New Year's Eve.
That game gives Clemson safety Jayron Kearse confidence that the Tigers' defense can neutralize the best runner in the nation.
"We watch film and we see weaknesses... We watched the Michigan State game and they held him to 60-something yards, so it can be done. Coach (Venables) has to put us in a position to do that."Of course, the Clemson offense boasts the Heisman Trophy runner-up, sophomore quarterback Deshaun Watson, who not only completes 68 percent of his passes with 31 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions, he ran for 1.032 yards and scored 12 TDs on his own.
Clemson will likely get a boost from defensive lineman Shaq Lawson, who plans to return from injury to play in the National Championship Game.
To watch the Alabama vs. Clemson College Football Playoff National Championship game live online from University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, use the stream provided by WatchESPN at this link.
Fans who do not have credentials to log in to WatchESPN can watch the game via the Sling TV internet package at this link. The package, which comes with a variety of channels — including ESPN — costs $20 per month and can be accessed on mobile devices with the Sling TV app, as well as on computers and some set-top devices, including the Roku and Amazon Fire. But Sling TV offers an option to watch the game free, with the seven-day introductory trial offered to new subscribers, who can choose whether or not to keep the service after they watch the Alabama vs. Clemson College Football Playoff National Championship game live online.
[Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images]