COVINGTON, Ga. — Take a deep breath, everyone. The Georgia Bulldogs somehow outlasted Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma Sooners in the Rose Bowl, and are heading to the National Championship game against an old, familiar foe.
As the Dawg Nation celebrated their team heading to the biggest game of the college football season for the first time since 1981, The Alabama Crimson Tide was beginning their march towards a 17th national title.
By eliminating Clemson in a rather dominant fashion, the stage has been set. The last time these two met in a game this meaningful was 2012, where Georgia was five yards away from dethroning the Crimson Tide, and possibly beating Notre Dame for their first national title in 32 years.
They have another crack at it though, on Monday Jan. 8 at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, in what is deemed the perfect venue for these two to clash.
Both teams have played in the state-of-the-art stadium this season. The Tide defeated Florida State in the opening game of their season, while the Bulldogs took home their first SEC crown since 2005 in the venue by defeating the Auburn Tigers 28-7.
Besides the obvious question running through fan’s minds of who is going to win the game, the next topic many fans are wondering about is where they will watch the game. Unless you’re willing to pay over $2000 for the nosebleed seats at Mercedes Benz, you’ll likely be going to watch this game at their houses, or they will join forces and pack out several restaurants and bars to witness the showdown of the SEC’s and the nation’s best teams.
Count Social Circle resident, Sheila Almand among those who will gather with family friends away from downtown Atlanta to watch a potential historic moment in Georgia football.
Almand said she’s looking forward to opening up her home to host a viewing party with family and friends, complete with a Varsity Truck. Almand says her and her family have been passionate members of Dawg Nation since the glory days of the early 1980s.
“We are huge UGA fans,” Almand said. “My uncle had season tickets back in the 80s, and my sister and I attended all home games back in the Herschel Walker Days. My uncle has since passed away and we no longer have the season passes, but we try to go to as many home games as we can.”
Bart and Shannon Buff, perhaps as big of Dawg fans as Almand and her family, will be taking in the game live and in person at Mercedes Benz. Bart, a vice principal at Eastside High, and his wife Shannon, the principal at Newton High, are making a return trip to downtown Atlanta after being on hand for Georgia’s SEC Championship game victory over Auburn last month.
“My dad has been a season ticket holder for close to 30 years,” Bart Buff said. “So we were able to get tickets from the university. It’s still kind of expensive, but looking at what those prices are, we feel pretty good about what we got them for.”
According to ticketmaster.com early Monday morning, nosebleed seats for the Alabama-Georgia contest were running close to $1,600 per. The Buffs also attended last Monday’s Rose Bowl also. The investment, according to Bart, is worth the opportunity to potential see UGA make history.
“I was barely one year old the last time Georgia won,” he said. “I’ve literally been waiting my entire life for this. I vaguely remember the other couple of times they had a chance to play for the championship and lost, so it’s been a long time coming, and it’s very exciting.”
Shannon Buff is just as excited, but also with a local high school flare. Former Eastside star, Eric Stokes and Newton alum J.J. Holloman are both freshmen on this UGA squad.
“I really love UGA,” she said. “It’s like home for me. I want it for those amazing kids who take the field, including the few that are from Newton County.”
If you’re sticking around the local area for the game and looking for some game-time vittles, here are a pair of places hosting events and providing specials for the big game:
To get in the tailgate-like spirit of football, the popular restaurant chain is offering $2 Blue Moons all day. They are also offering all-you-can-eat rib-lets and chicken tenders. The restaurant features several high definition TVs so that fans won’t miss a single second of the action.
Porterdale Bar and Grill:
Located right outside of the heart of Porterdale, this popular bar and grill hosted successful game day festivities for the Rose Bowl. They are looking to bring the same atmosphere for the National Championship with several activities like a raffle and a Georgia Bulldog merchandise giveaway. Specials include 20 wings and a pitcher of Natty Lite for $17.99 as well as 20 wings and a bucket of Bud Light for $23.99.
Sports Editor Gabriel Stovall contributed to this report.