SAN JOSE, Calif. — Alabama Coach Nick Saban and Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney went through the familiar routine Sunday.

Joint news conference, during which Swinney does most of the talking. Saban compliments Swinney’s Tigers. Swinney compliments Saban’s unprecedented run with the Crimson Tide. Handshake. Pose for a picture with a trophy. They have done this drill four straight seasons in the College Football Playoff.

Alabama-Clemson IV, the third meeting with the national championship on the line, will be played Monday night. Tide vs. Tigers might be getting old for some fans, but not to Swinney.

“I think the objective is to get the two best teams,” Swinney said. “If that’s not best for college football, then why did we even do it?”

For the first time the College Football Playoff final features two unbeaten teams.

Saban and Alabama are in the midst of the most impressive run in college football history, with five national titles since 2009. If not for a last-second loss to Clemson in the 2016 final, the Tide would be shooting for three straight playoff titles. Alabama won a thriller against Clemson for the 2015 title.

Saban has six national championships, including a BCS crown he won with LSU in 2003. One more will break a tie with Bear Bryant of Alabama for the most by any coach.

“I don’t ever even think about that at all,” said Saban, who is in his 12th season at Alabama and 23rd overall as a college head coach. “I do think a lot about trying to make and help this team to be the best possible, and to put them in the best possible position to have a chance to be successful.”

A case can be made that Saban has surpassed Bryant, who was at Alabama for 25 years. The current Alabama dynasty is stacking up championships despite the constraints of scholarship limits and against competition bolstered by a deeper talent pool and more national exposure.

“You’re talking about a program that I have a deep love and respect for, always have, always will, and a coach that’s – I mean, he’s won six national championships and the level of consistency is a model and an aspiration for every program,” said Swinney, who was a walk-on receiver for Alabama’s 1992 national title team coached by Gene Stallings.

Swinney and Clemson have come closest to reaching Alabama’s standard. A second championship in three seasons would give Clemson three overall (1981, 2016) and put Swinney in prestigious company. Among the Hall of Fame coaches with two national titles are Bobby Bowden of Florida State and Joe Paterno of Penn State.

Saban’s accomplishments have pretty much settled the question of greatest college football coach. He might be better compared to coaches in other sports such as John Wooden of UCLA, who won 10 NCAA men’s basketball championships; Pat Summitt, who won eight NCAA women’s basketball titles with Tennessee; Geno Auriemma, who has 11 women’s basketball championships at Connecticut; and Dan Gable, who led Iowa wrestling to 17 NCAA championships.

Alabama’s dominance has been defined by almost monotonous excellence. None of Saban’s teams stand out. They are similarly stellar, machine-like in their efficiency. This team has a chance to separate from the rest. Alabama can become just the third wire-to-wire No. 1 in the AP poll, joining 1999 Florida State and 2004 Southern California.

The biggest difference in this Tide team is Tua Tagovailoa, who came off the bench as a freshman to beat Georgia in last season’s championship game. For the first time, Saban has a star quarterback. Alabama has rolled through opponents by an average of 31 points.

“His accuracy, his athletic ability, his ability to improvise,” Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables said of Tagovailoa. “He’s got the best players on the planet around him at every position, and they’re two and three deep.”

Clemson has been almost as impressive, winning by an average of 29, led by a defensive line that features All-Americans Clelin Ferrell and Christian Wilkins.

“They have so many disruptive plays,” Alabama running back Damien Harris said. “They cause so much havoc for the offense that they’re playing.”