SAN JOSE, Calif. — Monday night is a big reason why Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant decided to return to Clemson. They wanted another shot at winning a national championship.
They will get that opportunity when they play No. 1 Alabama at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
The Tigers (14-0), also get an opportunity to avenge last year’s loss to Alabama, who knocked them out of the College Football Playoff with a beatdown in the Sugar Bowl.
“I am not going to say playing Alabama was the sole reason for us coming back, but they definitely left a sour taste in all of our mouths last year,” Bryant said. “It was not just the D-line, but it was the whole team. We felt they were the better team that night.
“They whipped us physically and mentally at every level. So, to have a chance to play them again and redeem yourself is something you always want to have an opportunity to do. So, we get our shot and it should be a great game in Santa Clara.”
Alabama (14-0) comes into the national championship game as the No. 1 team in the country and as a 5.5-point favorite over Clemson. With the exception of its comeback win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, the Crimson Tide has been crushing its opponents, winning by an average margin of 34 points per game.
Like the second-ranked Tigers they have a strong defense and an explosive offense, which is led by Heisman Finalist Tua Tagovailoa. The Crimson Tide is averaging 47.7 points and 527.6 yards per game.
“At the end of the day, when you get the chance to play in the national championship, you just want to play the best team,” Ferrell said. “If you are a competitor, you just want to play the best team. Regardless if that is us, Alabama or anybody, you want to play somebody that you know is going to challenge you.
“I feel like this year, they are the best that we can possibly play. I am happy that it is them because I feel like they are the best team on the other side other than us and I feel like this is going to be a great battle for sure.”