TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The top-ranked Alabama football team returned to the practice field on Tuesday night, working a 75-minute session in shorts and helmets at the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields.
It was the first time the Tide has seen the field since defeating Washington in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 31 to secure the school’s fifth national championship game appearance in the last eight seasons. This marks the first of six practices prior to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game against Clemson at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Monday, Jan. 9. The final game of the college football season will kick off at 7:17 CT and air on ESPN with Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Samantha Ponder and Tom Rinaldi calling the game.
The Atlantic Coast Conference champion Clemson Tigers enter the College Football Playoff National Championship Game with a 13-1 overall record and a 7-1 mark in conference play. The Tigers defeated No. 3 Ohio State, 31-0, in the College Football Playoff National Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 31 to advance to this week’s national championship game. Clemson is led by ninth-year head coach Dabo Swinney. A 1993 Alabama graduate, Swinney has a career record of 88-28 with the Tigers.
Alabama and Clemson will meet for the 17th time in the history of the two programs, with the Crimson Tide owning a 13-3 all-time advantage in the series. While the Tigers won the initial three meetings, the Tide have won the last 13 contests, outscoring Clemson 435-94 over that span. The most recent meeting between the two teams occurred in last season’s College Football Playoff National Championship Game when Alabama rallied for a 45-40 win to capture the program’s 16th national championship. Tight end O.J. Howard earned offensive MVP honors in the victory after catching five passes for a career-high 208 yards and two touchdowns.