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Alabama vs. Georgia in 2018 College Football National Championship: Time, TV, live score, spread

2018 National Championship kicks off on Jan. 8 at 8 p.m. EST

Head coach Nick Saban (L) and offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian of the Alabama Crimson Tide stand on the sideline against the Clemson Tigers at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Head coach Nick Saban (L) and offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian of the Alabama Crimson Tide stand on the sideline against the Clemson Tigers at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

ATLANTA – An SEC team will claim the national title for the ninth time in the past 12 seasons as conference mates Georgia and Alabama meet in Monday's College Football Playoff championship at Atlanta. Here's what you need to know.

What time is it?

Kickoff is at 8:17 p.m. ET Monday.

What channel is it on?

The game will be broadcast on ESPN, and if you don't have cable, you can catch it on Watch ESPN, the channel's streaming service.

Where is it?

The game will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

What team usually plays there?

It's the home of the Atlanta Falcons, winners of the 2017 Super Bowl Participation Award.

I thought they played at the Georgia Dome?

They did! But the Georgia Dome was imploded at the end of November, in an event that captured the attention and imagination of literally every single Atlantan within the city limits. If you're ever bored, find a building implosion to go observe. It will change your life.

Now they play in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a cavernous metal Bundt cake that looks like aliens reassembled the Coliseum using space garbage.

Oh, it's not that bad!

Even behind the walls of the neighboring CNN Center, one can feel its looming presence.

Anyway, who's playing in this thing?

This year's matchup will pit perennial southern powerhouse the Alabama Crimson Tide against uh, perennial southern powerhouse the Georgia Bulldogs.

What schools do these teams represent and where are they?

The University of Alabama is in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and the University of Georgia is in Athens, Georgia.

Do they even still play football in the North?

It's hard to say.

What colors will they be wearing?

Red. Just a lot of red. The Crimson Tide will be wearing white jerseys accented with, you guessed it, crimson. The Bulldogs will be wearing red jerseys with black and white accents.

Tell me more about the matchup!

Both of the teams vying for the championship are from the Southeastern Conference, typically referred to as the SEC. (A conference is one of the ways college football teams are organized. Think of conferences like leagues.)

The SEC connection makes the matchup absolutely thrilling to some, and extremely boring to others. One reason people may find it boring is that the SEC routinely churns out top championship contenders, so it can get a little old seeing the same teams consistently rise to the top. Excellence is so monotonous.

Who are the coaches?

The Georgia coach is Kirby Smart, and the Alabama coach is former Alabama senate write-in candidate Nick Saban.

Nick Saban. That name sounds familiar.

He's an extremely important college football man. He has coached the Tide to four (!) of their 16 (!!!) national titles and as of last year, he was also the highest paid public employee in America. (And yes, opinions differ on how many national titles Bama REALLY has --- some say 10 or 13, and it turns out there's not one right answer.)

How many national titles has Georgia won?

Two, one in 1942 and one in 1980. So it's been 38 years since the Bulldogs claimed a crown.

How long has it been since Alabama won?

Two years. Like we said, excellence is monotonous.

Who are the quarterbacks?

The Alabama quarterback is Jalen Hurts. The Georgia quarterback is Jake Fromm.

Who's going to win and what are the odds?

As of Saturday morning, experts are going with Alabama by 4 points. And if it comes down to that narrow of a spread this game is going to be an absolute rager.

The President is coming?

Oh, yeah. President Trump is scheduled to attend the game, so if you have any plans of driving anywhere around Atlanta, um, don't.

Follow LIVE Alabama vs. Georgia score updates below:

 

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME STORYLINES 

1. An SEC team will claim the national title for the ninth time in the past 12 seasons as conference mates Georgia and Alabama meet in Monday's College Football Playoff championship at Atlanta. The third-seeded Bulldogs are looking to win their first national title since the Herschel Walker-led squad won the 1980 crown, while the fourth-seeded Crimson Tide are striving for their fifth during Nick Saban's 11-season tenure. Alabama easily dispatched top-seeded Clemson 24-6 in the semifinals while Georgia outlasted second-seeded Oklahoma 54-48 in double overtime. 

2. Georgia coach Kirby Smart is a former Alabama defensive coordinator under Saban but is adamant that doesn't give him crucial insights to the methods of the Crimson Tide. "There's not a lot of tendencies that he has that are just going to be ground-breaking to allow us a benefit," Smart said during a press conference. "The bottom line is our players got to go out and we've got to play a really good football game to stay with these guys." Saban also downplayed the situation, saying "I don't think the game is about the coaches. I think it's about the players." 

3. Alabama leads the nation in rushing defense at 91.8 yards per game and will receive a big test from the Georgia senior duo of Nick Chubb (1,320 yards) and Sony Michel (1,129). The Crimson Tide limited Clemson to 64 yards on 33 attempts while the Bulldogs rolled up 317 and five rushing scores against Oklahoma. Georgia freshman quarterback Jake Fromm could be the wild-card factor if he starts the game off strong and makes Alabama respect the passing game.

TV: 8:17 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Alabama -3.5

ABOUT ALABAMA (12-1):

The Crimson Tide have been hit hard with linebacker injuries all season and they lost sophomore Anfernee Jennings (knee) against Clemson and he underwent surgery. Alabama will do some further linebacker reshuffling with senior Shaun Dion Hamilton (knee) and freshman Dylan Moses (foot) done for the season but the unit still resolves around junior strong safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (nine career interceptions, four returned for touchdowns). Sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts (808 rushing yards, 2,060 passing yards) is more feared as a runner but has 17 touchdown passes against just once interception as well as a star target in junior Calvin Ridley (59 receptions, 935 yards).

ABOUT GEORGIA (13-1):

Michel, who averages eight yards per carry, galloped for a 27-yard, game-winning score against Oklahoma for his 16th rushing touchdown of the season, while Chubb has 15 rushing scores and a 6.4 yard average. Fromm has passed for 2,383 yards and 23 touchdowns against only five interceptions while piloting an offense that averages 36.3 points per game. Junior inside linebacker Roquan Smith, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, leads the Bulldogs with 124 tackles and 5.5 sacks (the latter tied for team-leading honors with junior outside linebacker D'Andre Walker), while senior strong safety Dominick Sanders has a team-best four interceptions.

PREDICTION: Georgia 23, Alabama 21