ATLANTA - With the Jaguars game is over, the attention for many Fist Coast sports fans turns to Monday night, when the Georgia Bulldogs take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in Atlanta for the College Football Playoff National Championship.
That game is only about a 90-minute drive from Georgia’s campus, and already Atlanta is packed with fans decked out in red and black.
Some, like a group of Georgia alumni from Jacksonville, spent the day wearing the Jaguars black and teal while watching the team’s first home playoff game since 2000 from about six hours away.
“The birth of a child or the Dawgs playing in the national championship are the only reasons why I would miss A Jags home playoff game,” Kyle McClung said.
“I’m just so glad this moment and opportunity is here for the Dawgs.”
“It’s something that hasn’t happened in my lifetime. It’s something everybody has been waiting on,” Ken Cornell added. “As alumni, we’ve gone through this line of the nasty highs and lows and ended up on many lows. Just can’t think of a better place to be here in Georgia right now.”
Around Mercedes Benz Stadium, about four miles away from where that group watched the Jaguars game, everywhere you looked was red and black.
“Georgia, Georgia, Georgia. Where are the Alabama people? I haven’t seen any,” merchandise vendor Larry Miller said.
Outside the stadium, the championship logos and team banners are flying, but with the game about a day away, the excitement is already building.
For a little perspective, the last time Georgia won a football national championship, the number one song in the country that week was “(Just Like) Starting Over” by John Lennon. Georgia Head Coach Kirby Smart had just turned five years old. And Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban was a 29 year old defensive backs coach at Ohio State University, nine years from his first job as a head coach.
Georgia fans know what is on the line Monday night.
“I have not been alive since they had this opportunity. So it’s going to be big. And the fact they are going against 'Bama is even more fun,” Georgia fan Hagan Dick said.
“Everybody has been wishing and praying for this and now that we got it, you can tail. If the weather would cooperate it would even be better,” Miller said.
And while most are excited about the game finally starting, Cornell knows the hours leading up to the game will be a little nerve wracking.
“Anxious. Very anxious. Going to be enjoying all of the activities down by the stadium of course, but a lot of anxiety, stress, and anticipation.”
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