Finally. After waiting two long weeks, the No. 1 Louisiana State Tigers will take on the No. 3 Clemson Tigers Monday at 8 p.m. on ESPN in the College Football Playoff national championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

Calling the big game for the sixth time are ESPN’s top college football crew — play-by-play announcer Chris Fowler and analyst Kirk Herbstreit. Tom Rinaldi will handle sideline reporting duties for LSU, while Maria Taylor will be roaming the Clemson sideline.

LSU and Clemson won their respective college playoff games way back on Dec. 28. So why has it taken 16 days to decide who will end up as national champions? Blame the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl.

Under the current college football playoff contract, both are locked into Jan. 1 time slots, even when they don’t host semifinal games (like this season). That forced the Fiesta Bowl (Clemson-Ohio State) and the Peach Bowl (LSU-Oklahoma) back to the Saturday before New Year’s Day (a fallback following the unpopular decision to play games on New Year’s Eve back in 2015).

Compounding the problem, some pre-game event venues in New Orleans weren’t available on other dates, according to the Orlando Sentinel, meaning the championship game couldn’t be moved up.

“Ideally for momentum and fan interest, you wouldn’t want it to be 16 days,” Herbstreit told the Boston Globe’s Chad Finn. “[This year], it’s a fluke of the schedule. People need to understand that. It’s not going to be a regular thing. This has been a weird year.”

Next year, the Sugar Bowl and the Rose Bowl will host the playoff semifinals on New Year’s Day, with the national championship taking place 10 days later in Miami at Hard Rock Stadium.

Here’s everything you need to know to watch and stream Monday’s national championship game:

LSU (No. 1) vs. Clemson (No. 3): College football national championship

When: Monday, Jan. 13

Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans

Time: 8 p.m. kickoff

TV: ESPN (Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Tom Rinaldi, Maria Taylor)

Streaming: ESPN app (requires cable authentication), YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, AT&T TV Now (all require a subscription)

Referee: Chris Coyte (Pac-12 referees)

President Donald Trump puts on a hat that says "KEEP AMERICA GREAT" before the 120th Army-Navy game at Lincoln Financial Field on Dec. 14.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
President Donald Trump puts on a hat that says "KEEP AMERICA GREAT" before the 120th Army-Navy game at Lincoln Financial Field on Dec. 14.

Trump will attend the game

President Donald Trump is expected to attend Monday’s game, according to multiple reports.

Trump attended two college football games this season (including the Army-Navy game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia), and previously attended the 2018 national championship game in Atlanta, where he stood on the field during the national anthem and departed at halftime.

Alternative broadcasts

Once again, ESPN will be offering MegaCast coverage of the game, beaming fans 15 different presentations across television and the ESPN app. Some highlights include:

  • Field Pass, ESPN2: Longtime SportsCenter anchor Steve Levy and announcer Adam Amin will offer free-flowing commentary from the sidelines of the Superdome. They’ll be joined by multiple guests, including analysts Pat McAfee and Dan Orlovsky.
  • Coaches Film Room, ESPNU: Though newly hired Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule won’t be in the room Monday night (he participated in 2017), fans will get to hear live commentary from Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State, Boston College’s Jeff Hafley, Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason, and TCU’s Gary Patterson.
  • Hometown Radio, ACC Network and SEC Network: The ACC Network will air the Clemson Radio call of the game, featuring broadcasters Don Munson, Tim Bourret, Brad Scott, and Reggie Merriweather. Over on the SEC Network, fans can check out the home LSU Radio call by Chris Blair, Doug Moreau, and Gordy Rush.
  • Refcast, ESPN app: Ever wanted to be in a room full of referees during a game? Now you’ll have the chance, as former NFL referee John Parry, former SEC referee Matt Austin, Pac-12 replay official Judson Howard, and former Pac-12 referee Dave Cutaia discuss the game in real-time .

Media coverage

As you’d expect, ESPN’s schedule is booked Monday with extensive pregame college football coverage. Here are some highlights:

  • College Football Live, 1:30 p.m.: Hosted by Temple graduate Kevin Negandhi and Matt Barrie and featuring analysts Joey Galloway, Jesse Palmer, Jonathan Vilma, Todd McShay, Jim Mora, and former Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez.
  • College GameDay, 3 p.m.: Hosted by Rece Davis alongside analysts Desmond Howard, Jesse Palmer, and David Pollack.
  • Championship Drive, 6 p.m.: Hosted by Rece Davis (first hour) and Kevin Negandhi (second hour) alongside Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, and David Pollack. Corso will close the show ahead of the game’s kickoff with his trademark headgear pick for the 348th time over the stunt’s 23-year history, according to ESPN.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.