The two teams previous match-ups in the playoff were in the championship game. The last time the Crimson Tide were an underdog was at Georgia on October 3, 2015, the teams' last meeting.
Without Deshaun Watson, Clemson (12-2) simply has no answer for Saban's latest group of defensive standouts, sending Alabama (12-1) to an all-Southeastern Conference showdown against Georgia next Monday night in Atlanta.
Both horses have one win in seven career starts.
Maybe perhaps there is even more hype going into Monday night's game with the stakes being, victor goes on to play for the National Championship. After blowing out Auburn, 28-7, in the SEC Championship Game, the Bulldogs have surrendered just 27 total points in their last three contests.
The Sugar Bowl is the true main event of the New Year's Day bowl schedule.
The game will boast two of the top defenses in the nation.
Gaddy also points out Alabama's long tradition in the Sugar Bowl, with many memorable Crimson Tide wins and even National Championships being played in the Sugar Bowl.
Alabama and Clemson had split the series to date, having each won a thriller.
Monday's game will kick off at 5 p.m. and will be televised nationally on ESPN.
Gaddy says in addition to Swinney, there are several current Clemson assistant coaches who were former Alabama players. According to Bryant Museum Director Ken Gaddy, playing the same team three times consecutively in a bowl game is a first for Alabama.