Georgia and Alabama meet in the College Football Playoff Championship game at 8 p.m. at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
The No. 3-seeded Bulldogs (13-1) earned a spot in the game by defeating Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl. The Crimson Tide (12-1) won the Sugar Bowl over Clemson to reach the title game.
8:18 p.m.: A crowd of 75,000-plus is expected for the game, and the stadium appeared packed at kickoff.
7:52 p.m.: Twenty-five minutes before kickoff, which is scheduled for 8:17 p.m., there are still some empty seats in Mercedes-Benz Stadium as fans are in long lines outside at security checkpoints.
6:48 p.m.: The problematic roof of Mercedes-Benz Stadium is leaking in at least one spot.
“It’s dripping,” Mercedes-Benz Stadium general manager Scott Jenkins confirmed.
A slight stream of rain water is falling on the field near the 25-yard line. It is on the end of the field with “Georgia” emblazoned across the end zone.
This is at least the third event at which the roof is known to have leaked.
Two Georgia players and a UGA official were seen checking out the leak on the field. Georgia punter Cameron Nizialek looked up at the roof, apparently examining the source of the water.
Asked last week if he was concerned about potential roof leaks in the event of rain, College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said: “We have been told the roof is in great shape, and we’re not worried one bit about that.”
The roof of the new $1.5 billion-plus stadium is supposed to be retractable, but it has been open for only two events -- one Falcons game and one Atlanta United match -- because of problems with it.
6:38 p.m.: Tonight's game matches the Nos. 3 (Georgia) and 4 (Alabama) seeds in the College Football Playoff. That means this will be the fourth consecutive season – all four seasons of the CFP – that the No. 1 seed will not be the national champion.
The lower seed in the championship game has won it each of the past three years: No. 4 Ohio State in 2013, No. 2 Alabama in 2015 and No. 2 Clemson last year.
5:52 p.m.: With President Donald Trump planning to attend the game, U.S. Secret Service agents are manning security checkpoints as fans and media members enter the stadium. See story here.
5:40 p.m.: The officiating crew for tonight's game is from the Big Ten. Dan Capron is the referee.
5 p.m.: The stadium gates have opened.
4:47 p.m.: Both teams will have honorary captains tonight from their most recent national-championship teams.
Herschel Walker, who was a freshman on Georgia’s national-title team in the 1980 season, will be the Bulldogs’ honorary captain. Alabama’s honorary captain will be O.J. Howard, who was the offensive MVP of the national-championship game two seasons ago.
4:25 p.m.: Don't miss Steve Hummer's story on Devon Gales. Hummer writes:
“Across the wide spectrum of those who call themselves Bulldogs fans at the approach of Monday night’s national championship game against Alabama, none come from a place as extraordinary as Gales.
“Two-plus years ago – Sept. 26, 2015 to be exact – while blocking on a kickoff return, Gales collided with Georgia kicker Marshall Morgan. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound junior from equally small Southern University came to rest near the Georgia sideline, unable to move from the shoulders down. His back was broken and his legs paralyzed.
“The bonds that formed between Gales, his family and the Bulldogs from that awful moment onward have never been stronger than now at this high point in Georgia football history.”
4:05 p.m.: Based on ticket resales through mid-afternoon today, demand for seats at tonight's game is up 118 percent compared to last year's national title game between Alabama and Clemson in Tampa, according to secondary ticket marketplace StubHub.
Through mid-afternoon, StubHub said the average price paid for resale tickets to tonight’s game on its site had been $2,303. The latest get-in price – the lowest available ticket price at mid-afternoon – was $1,469 for an upper-level corner seat on StubHub.
The most expensive single seat that has been purchased on StubHub was a lower-level club seat in Aisle 110 for $12,000, according to the company. A suite sold for $94,000.
And dating back to when tickets for the game first went on the secondary market -- well before the Georgia-Alabama matchup was set -- the least expensive ticket sold on StubHub was $750 for an upper-level sideline seat.
As of mid-afternoon, there were 1,300 tickets available on StubHub. Almost all tickets to the game are digital.
4:01 p.m.: Click here for some pregame observations from DawgNation's Seth Emerson.
3:50 p.m.: For years, Atlanta sports and tourism boosters have made a strong case for the city as the "Capital of College Football," citing the passionate fans who live here, the major corporate sponsors based here, the star players recruited from here and the big games played here.
But despite all of that, college football’s national championship has never been decided in Atlanta – an omission that will be corrected tonight.
“The first time to have the national championship game of this sport played in Atlanta – it seems kind of crazy to even say that,” Michael Kelly, the College Football Playoff’s chief operating officer, said on one of his many trips here to prepare for the game.
3:36 p.m.: Secondary ticket marketplace TickPick provided updated data on resale tickets for the game on its site.
Through this morning, the average purchase price on the TickPick site had been $2,374, reflecting a 20-percent drop over the weekend. The get-in-price – the price for the cheapest available ticket, in the upper-level end-zone seats – was $1,607 as of this morning, TickPick said.
3:30 p.m.: The Atlanta Football Host Committee encourages fans to enter the stadium through Gates 2, 3 or 4. Stadium gates will open at 5 p.m.
Credit: ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJ
Credit: ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJ
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