Here It Comes: College Football’s National Title Game in Tampa
By JON WILSON, Consulting Editor, TB Reporter
We do not breathlessly report this imminent event, but here is some information you may find useful and perhaps entertaining.
TAMPA — The University of Alabama and Clemson University will compete for college football’s national championship Monday evening. And on a school/work night, no less. Whenever, whatever. Here are details to help you sort things out:
Your basic skinny: Gametime is 8 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. You can watch on ESPN. The game will be livestreamed at WatchESPN. For live updates, visit NCAA.com.
Your tickets: They cost plenty, but you can still get ’em. Google around. Try collegefootballplayoff.com/tickets, ticketmaster.com or stubhub.com. Stubhub. Gotta love that name. Don’t get me started. I’m thinking of a poem, bub.
Your hoopla: Bands, pep rallies, amusing mascots, media days open to the public, and as they say, much more. Have a look at collegefootballplayoff.com/events .
Your teams: Alabama and Clemson have played 16 times, with Alabama winning 13, Clemson 3, no ties. They started playing one another in 1900. Clemson won that game, and subsequent games in 1904 and 1905. Alabama won the next 13, including last year’s national championship game. Clemson is snarling for revenge. Which brings us to . . .
Your nicknames: Clemson Tigers. One theory we like says the nickname originated in the early days when players wore their hair long for protection because helmets had not yet been introduced. The hair resembled long manes, which suggests Lions might have been a more appropriate monicker. But the players wore orange-and-purple striped uniforms, and so . . . stripes, Tigers, you get it. Alabama Crimson Tide. A sportswriter is said to have coined the name in a 1907 game against Auburn, contested in a swamp of red mud that stained Alabama’s white jerseys crimson.
Your mascots: Clemson has an anthropomorphic tiger resplendent in polyester fur. It is called simply The Tiger. Alabama also has a human dressed as an animal: an elephant called Big Al. The pachyderm idea emerged in 1930 when an exuberant fan yelled, “The elephants are coming” as super-sized players charged onto the field. During the 1940s, a live elephant named Alamite was a regular spectator at games. It also led the homecoming parade and carried the homecoming queen onto the field as a pre-game ritual. We have no idea where the name Alamite came from.
Your favorite: The odds makers suggest Alabama will win by about six points.
Your trivia: Alabama’s most famous cheer is “Rammer Jammer Yellowhammer, Give’em hell, Alabama.” The Rammer-Jammer was a 1920s student magazine and a yellowhammer is the state bird . . . Legendary Clemson coach Frank Howard chewed Penn’s Thin Natural Leaf Tobacco, and when concrete was poured for Clemson’s stadium in 1942, the coach stuck a plug in each corner of the stadium.
Your final words: Alabama and Clemson, the latter situated in South Carolina, make this championship game and its surrounding events a cultural event of the South, where, after all, football is king. Have fun, y’all!
Tampa | Events | Football | College National Championship Game | TB Reporter
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