A reception awaits Georgia’s 8 p.m. ET arrival here in Indianapolis. College Football Playoff officials and media will be congregated to welcome both Georgia and No. 1 Alabama, which is to arrive at 6:30 p.m.
“Indianapolis has been the spot of a lot of national championships I’ve been able to watch growing up, and we’re excited to play in such a great venue,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said of playing in Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. “And it sounds like we’re fortunate we’re not playing outside based on the weather that I’m hearing about.”
Indeed, greeting the teams and their fans will be some frigid temperatures. Friday morning’s low in Indiana was 5 degrees, which felt like minus-10 with the wind-chill factor, according to weather.com.
It’s expected to warm into the high 30s and possibly the 40s over the weekend with a 50 percent chance of showers. Then, Monday, the day of the game (8 p.m., ESPN), temperatures are expected to plunge into back into single digits overnight. But currently there is no expectation of precipitation.
None of that will matter inside Lucas Oil Stadium, which is expected to have its thermostat set at about 70 degrees. And if you’re fortunate enough to be in the downtown area, most of the activities are indoors, as well as many of the passages in and around the Indiana Convention Center.
Most of the angst heading into the game is about Georgia’s matchup with Alabama. Not only did the Bulldogs, then ranked No. 1, lose to the Crimson Tide 41-24 on Dec. 4, Georgia has lost its past seven games against Alabama.
Most notably, Bama beat Georgia in the most heart-wrenching fashion in the 2017 national championship in Atlanta. The Bulldogs fell in overtime 26-23 on a 41-yard touchdown pass that infamously came on second-and-26.
But the current Bulldogs, which enter Monday’s game as three-point favorites, insist none of that had anything nothing to do with them.
“This team hasn’t played Alabama in a national championship before,” junior wide receiver Kearis Jackson said. “But just being able to get this opportunity to go play in a national championship, the biggest stage for all of our careers, we’re playing one of the biggest games of our lives, it’s awesome. And just being able to go against a fantastic team like Alabama on a big stage like this, we can’t take this opportunity for granted. Just gotta go out there and play our best game.”
They’re on their way.