Every national championship game is usually filled with storylines and angles, and Monday night’s battle between Alabama and Clemson will be no exception.

It’s also an opportunity to look at some intriguing matchups involving the SEC champion Crimson Tide and the ACC champion Tigers.

Here’s a look at 5 that stand out:

1. Nick Saban vs. Dabo Swinney: Does it get any better than this? In one corner, there’s Saban, arguably the greatest football coach in Crimson Tide history. In the other, there’s Swinney, who not only walked on at Alabama and won the 1992 national championship with the Crimson Tide, but he also spent another eight years in Tuscaloosa, first as a graduate assistant, then as a wide receivers/tight ends coach.

If that weren’t enough, Swinney was born in Birmingham and grew up in Pelham, Ala. On top of that, Clemson University’s own president suggested that Alabama should call him about Swinney when Saban retires or leaves the Crimson Tide. So this matchup is not quite as awkward as say Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader, but it’s basically Alabama vs. Alabama, and that’s obviously something we don’t see every day.

2. Derrick Henry vs. Wayne Gallman: Alabama’s Heisman Trophy winner has had an incredible season, rushing for an SEC record 2,061 yards with 25 TDs, both FBS bests this season. But Clemson’s talented sophomore has been outstanding as well, finishing second in the ACC — behind only Florida State’s Dalvin Cook — with 1,482 rushing yards. In the Orange Bowl, Gallman pounded Oklahoma for 150 yards and 2 TDs on 26 carries, part of Clemson’s 312 rushing yards overall. Alabama has the nation’s best rushing defense — allowing just 70.8 yards on the ground per game this season — but teh 6-1, 205-pound Gallman will be a test.

3. Shaq Lawson vs. Alabama’s offensive line: Despite being knocked out of the game in the opening minutes of the Orange Bowl, Lawson – the All-American defensive end who usually lines up on the right side of Clemson’s 4-3/2-5 alignments – still had one the Tigers’ five sacks of Baker Mayfield in their 37-17 victory over Oklahoma.

Lawson, who leads the FBS with 23.5 tackles for loss and has a team-leading 10.5 sacks, has already participated in workouts and is expected to play.

Healthy or not, Lawson is definitely someone Alabama offensive line coach Mario Cristobal is game-planning for; but when the left side of your line is anchored by tackle Cam Robinson, guard Ross Pierschbacher and the best center in the SEC in Ryan Kelly, that game-planning is much easier to do.

4. Brent Venables vs. Lane Kiffin: Like him or not, Alabama’s offensive coordinator definitely deserves a lot of credit. Yes, he has arguably the best running back in the country in his offense, but Kiffin has done a masterful job of getting the most out of Alabama QB Jacob Coker. Granted, Michigan State’s defense isn’t on par with Alabama’s or even Clemson’s, but Coker ripped it apart in the Cotton Bowl, completing 25 of 3o passes for a career-best 286 yards and 2 TDs – both to Calvin Ridley.

What’s even more impressive is that Kiffin has put Coker in countless situations to succeed – the senior has thrown just 8 interceptions, and none over the past 4 games.

Venables’ run defense was awesome against Oklahoma – the Sooners had just 67 yards on 33 carries – but the Tigers also allowed Baker Mayfield to throw for 311 yards, which is something Kiffin will no doubt try to exploit.

The best matchup all night might be Kiffin working to get Ridley open against Venables’ talented secondary.

5. Big Al vs. the Clemson Tiger: Mascots obviously don’t go head-to-head on the field, but if they did, Alabama would win this matchup. With all due to respect to the Clemson Tiger, how special can he be considering the fact that five FBS schools — including Missouri, Auburn and LSU — have Tigers as their mascots? Plus, having an elephant such as Big Al as your mascot is pretty cool, but the story of how he came to represent Alabama might be even better.