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Two of college football's true blue bloods meet again on Monday in the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T in Miami Gardens, Florida (8 p.m. ET, ESPN and the ESPN App). Alabama-Ohio State national championship game preview: Analysis, predictions and more Even in an era deprived of any semblance of parity -- and college football has had many of those -- an Alabama-Ohio State game feels huge. While Bama and Clemson have played four times in the past six years, and Ohio State and Clemson have played in three of the past five, Bama and Ohio State have only ever met four times. Three of their battles were top-10 vs. top-10 matchups, and the other was No. 6 vs. No. 13. In 2014, they played in the inaugural College Football Playoff semifinals; six years later, they play with a national title on the line (8 p.m. ET, Monday on ESPN/ESPN App). Here's everything you need to know about this titanic, and rare, matchup. Alabama vs. Ohio State predictions, picks, odds, spread, line for college football national championship 2021 No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Ohio State will meet at Hard Rock Stadium on Monday night in the College Football Playoff National Championship -- a contest which may turn out to be one of the most intriguing title game matchups in recent memory. The Crimson Tide have run roughshod through the SEC en route to the conference title, while the undefeated Buckeyes needed only six games to claim their conference crown and earn a berth in the CFP. That was where things got really interesting. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields exploded vs. No. 2 Clemson with 385 yards passing and six touchdown tosses despite suffering a rib injury late in the second quarter that had the junior wincing in pain throughout the second half. Speaking of explosions, running back Trey Sermon has rushed for 636 yards and four touchdowns over the last three games, and he has benefitted from an offensive line that has come of age as the Buckeyes found their offensive identity. The defense showed out against the Tigers, which was the most important development of the Sugar Bowl. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was harassed all night, including up the middle -- a quarterback's worst nightmare. The big story in Columbus, Ohio, over the last week has involved player availability. All eyes have been on Fields' ribs, and coach Ryan Day insists that his superstar will be ready to go on Monday night. The Buckeyes have also been dealing with a COVID-19 issue that has brought up the possibility of delaying the game until January 18. Alabama vs. Ohio State live stream, watch online, tv channel, kickoff time, national championship game 2021 National championship 2021: Alabama vs. Ohio State live stream, watch online free, TV channel, kickoff time How to watch Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (1/11/2021): College Football Playoff national championship TV channel, time, live stream College Football Playoff: Opposing coaches scout Alabama and Ohio State Alabama and Ohio State most recently met during the inaugural College Football Playoff in 2015. Behind coach Urban Meyer and quarterback Cardale Jones, the Buckeyes won the Allstate Sugar Bowl semifinal 42-35 and went on to a national title. Since that loss, Nick Saban and Alabama have won two national championships and played in two other title games. Ohio State, now led by Ryan Day, is making its first trip to the championship game since winning that title in 2015. Alabama, led by Heisman Trophy-winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith and star quarterback Mac Jones, had no issue with No. 4 Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl. The offense racked up 7.95 yards per play thanks to brilliant play-calling from offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. His ability to scheme to get his playmakers -- including running back Najee Harris -- the ball in space has been stellar all season no matter what the opposing defense is giving them. There might be a small concern that Sarkisian's new role as Texas coach could become a distraction, but Alabama coach Nick Saban has plenty of experience preparing for big games with assistants who are set for bigger roles elsewhere. It'll be fascinating to see how Saban and defensive coordinator Pete Golding scheme up a plan to slow down Fields. The dual-threat star found plenty of success through the air with wide receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, and he also got the tight ends involved more than they have been all year. Here's what our CBS Sports college football experts believe will go down Monday as Alabama enters the 2021 CFP National Championship as more than a touchdown favorite over Ohio State. The casual smile gets you first. Then comes the all-knowing, perfectly timed glance up to the cameras. It was all Ohio State running back Trey Sermon could do -- cheesing it up for television as officials reviewed whether he scored a touchdown on a long run against Clemson in last week's College Football Playoff semifinal. He knew -- we all knew -- he clearly did not. Maybe the joke was on the rest of us. Sure, it became an instant meme. And no, that smile and glance didn't sell officials on a touchdown that never happened. But Sermon's deliberate look with pursed lips, a three-second window into his Ezekiel Elliott-like transformation into an unstoppable postseason force, delivered a message: Ohio State football vs. Alabama Outrageous Predictions: Can the Buckeyes overcome Najee Harris, DeVonta Smith and the potential return of Jaylen Waddle? COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State football isn’t going to shut down Alabama’s offense on Monday. Its best bet will be to find ways to get critical stops in a likely shootout. They start with defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs coming up with a quality scheme that challenges Heisman Trophy finalist Mac Jones at quarterback. If there was anything to be learned in the Buckeyes’ 42-35 win over Indiana, it’s that unless defensive linemen collect sacks, pressure alone isn’t enough to slow down elite quarterbacks. That’s why the Buckeyes started off the 49-28 win over Clemson in the Sugar Bowl by sending blitzes at Trevor Lawrence. That paid off later in the game with sacks and forced fumbles. The 2020 college football season has been a ride, but at long last, here we are at the College Football Playoff National Championship. To have made it all the way through the year, despite all of the interruptions and problems -- both real and potential -- is an accomplishment. And now, No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Ohio State will take the field one final time to determine the national champion for one of the wildest seasons in the history of the sport. While playing for championships is familiar territory for both programs, how they got here couldn't have been more different. Alabama played close to a full schedule with the SEC opting for a conference-only slate. The Crimson Tide got in all 10 SEC games plus two postseason matchups. It wasn't a completely smooth effort -- coach Nick Saban tested positive for COVID-19 and missed the Iron Bowl -- but all things considered it could have been worse. Ohio State, on the other hand, almost didn't have a season. The Big Ten initially eschewed a fall season for another crack at football in 2021 but eventually did an about-face with a shortened eight-game slate starting in late October. Because of various cancellations, Ohio State only played five games, but the Big Ten walked back its six-game minimum to allow the Buckeyes to play in the Big Ten Championship Game. Playing only six times, Ohio State was subject to intense scrutiny that it hadn't played enough games to merit a playoff invite. However, the CFP Selection Committee included the Buckeyes anyway and the decision proved to be the right one when they beat up on Clemson 49-28 in the Sugar Bowl semifinal. Which leads us to this. Saban will be looking for his sixth national championship at Alabama and seventh overall. Ohio State coach Ryan Day, in just his second year, is looking for his first. Which team will prevail? We break down Monday's matchup below. Alabama or Ohio State have played in five of the six College Football Playoff National Championship games since the event's inception in 2014, and one of the two has appeared in 10 of the past 14 national title games dating back into the Bowl Championship Series era. But through all that success, the Crimson Tide and Buckeyes have never faced each other with the sport's ultimate title on the line. That will change Monday night when the two titans of college football square off for just the fifth time ever and battle for the 2021 CFP National Championship. Though this matchup was in some ways predictable considering Ohio State and Alabama were ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in the first AP Top 25 of the season, the route for both programs to reach this game took some unforeseen twists. At one point, the Big Ten did not plan to play this fall, which would have eliminated the Buckeyes from participating in the CFP. Even once the league reversed course and decided to play, questions still abounded about whether Ohio State's six regular-season games were enough to warrant CFP consideration. Ohio State's delayed start to the 2020 season, and a Clemson loss to Notre Dame on Nov. 7, opened the door for Alabama to ascend to No. 1 after a 6-0 start. By that point, an offense that entered the season with some question marks was proving to be one of the best in the country. The departures of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and premier receivers Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III cast doubt on whether this Crimson Tide team would return to the top of SEC after LSU's dominant 2019 run. But led by Heisman Trophy winning wide receiver Devonta Smith, Alabama answered those questions in resounding fashion by steamrolling through 12 opponents by an average margin of victory of 29.2 points to reach the national title game. Now, the stage is set for what should be a memorable conclusion to a historic campaign. After the cancellation or postponement of more than 100 games disrupted the flow of the season, there is just one game remaining, and it's a matchup that's been a long time coming. These two have met three times before in bowl games, including in a classic CFP semifinal game on Jan. 1, 2015, that Ohio State won 42-35. Never has there been this much at stake as two of the all-time great programs will finally face off for a national title as No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Ohio State meet with the national championship on the line Monday night just outside of Miami. The Alabama Crimson Tide and Ohio State Buckeyes are headed to Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, for the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday, January 11 (1/11/2021), and broadcast partners ESPN are offering a staggering range of ways to watch the game. The primary broadcast will be on ESPN, which is available to stream live on fuboTV, Sling, Hulu + Live TV and other streaming services. Alabama: It's a conversation that's come up more than once, but the 2020 Crimson Tide would be in the discussion as Saban's best team ever with a win against the Buckeyes. It is already, at the very least, the most dangerous offense Alabama has ever put on a football field. DeVonta Smith became the first wide receiver in nearly 30 years to win the Heisman Trophy, quarterback Mac Jones was a finalist, and running back Najee Harris probably could have (should have) been, too. As it is now, the Tide are averaging 48.2 points. Last year's national champion, LSU, averaged 48.4. With the shortened season, there's no way Alabama passes the Tigers in total points scored, but the efficiency with which it's slaughtered defenses this year is comparable. Whereas Saban's early Alabama teams were dominant on defense and slowly overpowered their opponents, the Bama teams of more recent years have relied on offense to overwhelm everyone in their way. College football has shifted towards wide open offenses, and Alabama has made that shift as well as any program in the country -- if not better. The world is only just seeing it now, after a two-game stretch in which Sermon has run for 524 yards, scored three touchdowns and become the biggest revelation to an Ohio State offense that had no real identity until he smashed Northwestern in the Big Ten championship game. His emergence has been years in the making, first as a prized high school recruit, then as an Oklahoma back who slowly fell from the top of the depth chart, and now as a Terminator-like force ready to bulldoze through and hurdle over defenders on his final quest to prove himself. Sermon is on the brink of topping what Elliott did the last time Ohio State won a national title in the 2014 season. Elliott put together the most dominant three-game stretch in school history, with 696 yards and eight touchdowns in the Big Ten championship game and the CFP semifinal and championship games to carry the Buckeyes -- and that is saying something at a program known for its elite, next-level backs. The comparison is not lost on anyone now that the No. 3 Buckeyes are getting ready to play No. 1 Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T on Monday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida (8 p.m. ET, ESPN and the ESPN App). Sermon, in fact, is outpacing Elliott in rushing through two postseason games.