It appears the two best teams made the College Football Playoff title game

Alabama vs. Washington
Coach Nick Saban, flanked by Bo Scarbrough, left, and Ryan Anderson celebrates after Alabama’s victory in the Peach Bowl on Saturday. (John Bazemore / Associated Press)

As the clock ticked down on Clemson’s victory in the Fiesta Bowl, linebacker Ben Boulware stomped along the sideline, bellowing, thrusting his arms toward the sky.

His team had dispatched with Ohio State in a College Football Playoff semifinal and now he was celebrating, his thoughts already pointing toward a rematch with undefeated Alabama in the championship.

“That’s the game we’ve been wanting to play,” he said.

A year ago, the Tigers were undefeated and confident but came up just short, losing 45-40, vowing to return for another shot at the title.

This time around, the oddsmakers have installed them as a touchdown underdog against the Crimson Tide — who are riding a 26-game winning streak — so the challenge is clear.

“Alabama has been the standard — there’s really no argument about that,” Coach Dabo Swinney said. “If you’re going to be the best, you’ve got to beat them.”

Next Monday night will mark the first championship rematch in the nearly two decades that span the creation of the Bowl Championship Series and its offspring, the three-year-old CFP system.

There is little question that, this season, the two best playoff contenders have advanced to the final.

The Crimson Tide will try to become the first college team to go 15-0 — a mark that Clemson barely missed last season. Coach Nick Saban is chasing some personal history with a chance to tie the record set by his predecessor, Bear Bryant, by earning a sixth national championship.

For Clemson, the stakes are equally high if a little different. The Tigers, who last won it all in 1981, hope to claim what they see as their rightful place in college football.

“Sooner or later people are going to realize,” Swinney said from the trophy stage at the Fiesta Bowl. “Clemson is an elite program.”

Most of the attention in Tampa next Monday night will focus on the Tigers’ volatile…