Roll out the green carpet. The 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship Game Presented by AT&T (try saying it five times fast) is set.
Why do I care?
Because united we fan. The CFP is the grand finale of the college football season and everyone you know is flexing school spirit. Last year, 28.4 million people tuned in to the CFP National Championship Game. That's a lot of guac.
How did we get here?
Teams across the nation tried to impress the Selection Committee all season long. Four of them went head-to-head in the semifinal (it happened over the holiday limbo when you didn’t know what day it was).
OK...so who's in now?
And then there were two. Alabama and Clemson are facing off for the national title for the third time in four years. Here's what you should know about them...
Alabama Crimson Tide
It didn’t take a crystal ball to see this one coming. No.1 ranked ‘Bama has been the team to beat all season. And the season before that. And the season before that. The Crimson Tide has won a bid to the CFP for every year of the playoff's existence. Hint: this year makes it five.
Team color: Crimson and White
Watch for red flags...in the stands. UA’s colors are Crimson and White but they used to be gray, black, and white. Some say a woman representing the school at an event wore crimson to make it fashion. Others say the football team itself started the trend in 1892. And we can’t ignore the elephant in the room. Add some gray to your game day OOTD for Big Al (the team’s elephant mascot).
Key Player: Tua Tagovailoa (QB)
Strong side, left side. But actually if you’re ‘Bama sophomore Tua Tagovailoa. He’s a rare left-handed quarterback and originally from Hawaii. Just watch out for his Achilles...leg. Tua’s injured the same one a few times this season: first, tweaking his knee, then taking a bad hit to the quad.
Sh*t people say: "Roll Tide!"
"Roll Tide!” are the last words of the song “Yea Alabama,” and a phrase fans use to say “hi”, “bye”, “go team,” and just about anything else. The school even trademarked the phrase. So if you want to be one with the crimson wave, practice.
Sh*t people snack: BBQ
It may be the obvious choice for a team in the Deep South, but BBQ is the Tide-and-true chow you’ll find at any Tuscaloosa tailgate. If you’re not grilling yourself, local restaurants Dreamland BBQ and Archibald’s are loved for offering tailgate packages you can pick up for game day.
Just behind ‘Bama is No.2 ranked Clemson. The Tigers earned their fourth-straight trip to the College Football Playoff. FYI, in 2017 they beat ‘Bama in a v close national championship game (35-31).
Team colors: Orange and Regalia
Clemson is a bit of a, well, copycat when it comes to team swag. Walter Riggs founded the football program at Clemson and “borrowed” uniforms from the team he played on in college: Auburn. Yep, the OG Clemson team hit the field in Auburn’s old orange and navy jerseys. Only, the jerseys were so beat up the navy looked more like a faded purple. Fancy translation: regalia.
Key Player: Trevor Lawrence (QB)
Trevor Lawrence is a freshman quarterback who’s been called the "best prospect since Manning" (the older one, from Nationwide commercials). But some think Clem’s had a pretty easy schedule and want to see how he fares against tougher defenses. It doesn't hurt that he kinda sorta looks like Sunshine from "Remember the Titans.”
Sh*t people say: “C-L-E-M-S-O (wait for it)-N”
Hear that rumbling? Nope, not us running for chips & queso. It’s the "Tiger Rag" aka “the song that shakes the Southland.” For more than 75 years, it's been Clem's official fight song. Listen up when the school's Tiger Band leads the crown in a “C-L-E-M-S-O *pause for dramatic effect* -N” cheer.
Sh*t people snack: Blue cheese
Sweet dreams are made of cheese. They are if you go to Clemson. Thanks to a dairy professor, the school has famously cured gourmet blue cheese since 1941. Pairs well with tailgate wings. I dip, you dip, we dip.
Want to know who’s in charge of all this? That would be the coaches. Get a rundown on the ones who took their teams to the top by listening to our Skimm Note...
The CFP is a BFD. Don’t drop the ball. Tune into the College Football Playoff National Championship Game Presented by AT&T. It’s going down on January 7 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. Learn more here.
PS: That was a lot. But we have more. Watch our video on the CFP Selection Committee for more on how the teams got picked...