The #1-ranked Clemson Tigers, champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference, faced the #4-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, co-champions of the SEC West Division (along with Auburn who won head-to-head over Alabama.) This was the third consecutive year in which Clemson and Alabama met in the CFPs, though the previous two meetings were in the CFP Championship Game.
This was Alabama’s first Sugar Bowl win of the Nick Saban era. This was also their first win in a Sugar bowl since 1993 against Miami. The Tide had lost games in the 2008–2009, 2013–2014, and 2014–2015 football/bowl seasons. This was also the first win for the Southeastern Conference in the Sugar Bowl since 2010 (Ole Miss has to vacate a win over Oklahoma State), including losses to Louisville, Oklahoma (twice) and Ohio State (twice).
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