Tua Tagovailoa #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide throws a pass against the Oklahoma Sooners during the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Miami, Florida. This is a representational image.

Perhaps the two best college football programs of the past few years will meet again in the College Football Playoff National Championship game on Monday night. The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide will take on the No. 2 Clemson Tigers in the postseason for the fourth consecutive year.

The two programs previously met in the national title games at the conclusions of the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Alabama won the first game in an offensive shootout, while Clemson won the second thanks to quarterback Deshaun Watson’s late-game heroics. The third meeting, in last year’s playoff semifinal, was a 24-6 Alabama blowout victory.

Clemson is hoping for a different outcome this year thanks to a new starting quarterback and an improved offensive line. True freshman Trevor Lawrence got the job over incumbent starter Kelly Bryant (who played poorly against Alabama last year) and turned in a stellar season, throwing for 2,933 yards, 27 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

Lawrence was nearly perfect against Notre Dame in the playoff semifinal this season, completing 69 percent of his passes for 327 yards and three scores without a turnover. Clemson’s pass protection is also significantly better this year, per Football Outsiders ; they were 86th in sack rate last season and 18th this season.

After he threw the game-winning touchdown in relief in last season’s national title game, Alabama handed the keys to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa this year, with great success. The Heisman contender gave Alabama an explosive passing game the program has lacked under Nick Saban, completing 69.5 percent of his passes for 3,671 yards, 41 touchdowns and four interceptions.

These are largely considered the two best teams in college football, and oddsmakers expect a relatively close game. Clemson ranked third in total offense this season, while Alabama ranked fourth. Clemson was second in total defense, Alabama was 13th.

Prediction: This will be the best team Alabama has faced all year, better than the Georgia team that gave them trouble in the SEC title game. However, Alabama gets a slight edge based on Tagovailoa’s experience in big games. It will be close, but Nick Saban will win another national championship.

Alabama wins, 28-23

Alabama vs. Clemson College Football National Championship Info:

Time: 8 p.m. ET, Monday, Jan. 7

TV Network: ESPN

Livestream: WatchESPN (Cable login required)

Spread: Alabama -6.0 ( Bovada )