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