To help you with planning for the College Football Playoff Championship game, here are some of our plans. This advisory will be updated until the title game. Please contact Oscar Dixon (odixon(at)ap.org) with any questions. All times ET.
ATLANTA — Nick Saban and Kirby Smart have been here before, only this time they’ll be on opposing sidelines when Alabama and Georgia meet for the national title. Smart, who was Saban’s staff for four of the Crimson Tide’s national championships, will try to lead Georgia to the crown in his second year coaching his alma mater. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos. Game starts at 8 p.m.
— FBC--T25 CHAMPIONSHIP-THE LATEST
— Sidebars on merit
FBC--T25-CHAMPIONSHIP-FINDING ITS NICHE
ATLANTA — The College Football Playoff is here to stay. The national championship game still feels like a bit of an afterthought. The 4-year-old season finale, the latest of which pits Alabama against Georgia in an all-Southeastern Conference affair, has struggled to carve out a niche within the well-established bowl system. By Paul Newberry. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 3 p.m. EST.
ATLANTA — Sports Columnist Paul Newberry writes from the national championship game, where Southeastern Conference rivals Alabama and Georgia meet in a neighborhood brawl that deals another sting to those around the nation already a bit weary of the powerhouse league. By Sports Columnist Paul Newberry. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos after the game.
FBC--T25-COLLEGE FOOTBALL POLL
ATLANTA — The final Associated Press Top 25 of the season is released. The winner of the College Football Playoff championship game between Georgia and Alabama will take the top spot, but where will undefeated UCF land? By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos. NOTE: Poll will be released after the national championship game.
FBC--COLLEGE HALL OF FAME
ATLANTA — Coaches Frank Beamer and Mack Brown have been selected for the College Football Hall of Fame, part of a class of 13 that also includes former players Ed Reed and Calvin Johnson. Brown won 244 games in a 30-year head coaching career at four schools that included a 16 seasons and a national championship at Texas. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 300 words, photos
ATLANTA — Atlanta’s new $1.5 billion stadium is about to be on perhaps its largest national stage — the College Football Playoff title game. Fans say the glitzy facility is living up to the hype despite a series of construction setbacks that delayed its opening. Monday’s game features teams that have already played in Mercedes-Benz Stadium: Georgia and Alabama. The stadium has drawn record-breaking crowds for sporting events and packed concerts by recording artists from Taylor Swift to Garth Brooks. By Jonathan Landrum Jr. SENT: 700 words, photos
ATLANTA — When President Donald Trump swoops into Atlanta for a VIP seat at college football’s biggest game, he’ll be enjoying the Southern hospitality of a city he disparaged a year ago as “falling apart” and “crime ridden.” The insults tweeted by Trump may seem like ancient history to most who follow the president’s voluminous stream of online invective. But Atlanta hasn’t forgotten. By KATE BRUMBACK and RUSS BYNUM. SENT: 800 words, photos
ATLANTA — he scene was relatively quiet Monday morning around the stadium in downtown Atlanta where the College Football Playoff title game was set to be held. A light drizzle fell on some fans milling about, but there were no anti-Trump demonstrators in sight. At least two groups have announced plans to protest President Donald Trump’s visit to Atlanta for the game, which was set to kick off at 8 p.m. But their announced actions were scheduled for later in the day, closer to the time of Trump’s arrival. SENT: 275 words, photos. DEVELOPING
— With: US--TRUMP-ATLANTA PROTESTS-THE LATEST
FBC--T25-PICK 6-2018 STORY LINES
ATLANTA — Congratulations to the 2017 national champion from the SEC. On to 2018. Six story lines to follow next season from high-profile QB competitions to heat on Jim Harbaugh to the Pac-12′s attempt to recover from a rough season. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. UPCOMING: 800 words, with photos, by 4 a.m.
ATLANTA — Alabama and Georgia will collide in an all-SEC title game when the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs meet on Monday night. Kirby Smart, who spent several years on Nick Saban’s Alabama staff, will try to topple his mentor and lead his alma mater to the College Football Playoff title. Moved 800 words, photos on Jan. 7
— With: AP Graphic: NAT CHAMP MATCHUP
ATLANTA — Jalen Hurt came up one second short of winning a national title in his freshman season at Alabama. Now Jake Fromm has a chance to win it all in his first year at Georgia. The quick rise of the two championship game quarterbacks shows just how advanced today they were coming out of high school, signaling a new era when redshirt seasons or a year or two on the bench, learning the ropes, are no longer necessary at the most prominent position on the field. By National Writer Paul Newberry. Moved 750 words, photos on Jan. 7
ATLANTA — Calvin Ridley is willing to trade big numbers for rings. The Alabama receiver and Georgia’s best pass catchers are often overshadowed by powerful running games, but they are fully capable of making plays when given a chance. By John Zenor. Moved 550 words, photos on Jan. 7
ATLANTA — Long before Vince Dooley was lifted to the shoulders of his players after coaching Georgia to the 1980 national championship, he had another ride after beating Alabama and its legendary coach, Bear Bryant, to open his second season in 1965. Georgia’s showdown with Alabama for the national title on Monday night has sparked Dooley’s memories of both big wins. By Charles Odum. Moved 600 words, photos on Jan. 7
FBC--T25-CHAMPIONSHIP-WHY ALABAMA WINS
ATLANTA — Alabama’s vaunted defense is about to face perhaps college football’s best running back duo. Those kinds of matchups tend to work out pretty well for the fourth-ranked Crimson Tide, which shuts down opposing ground games better than anybody. By John Zenor. Moved 500 words, photos on Jan. 7
FBC--T25-CHAMPIONSHIP-WHY GEORGIA WINS
ATLANTA — To win national championships the old-school, SEC way, you must play smothering defense packed with big plays, have a strong kicking game and, most importantly, run the ball. Georgia’s running game is deeper and better than Alabama’s, by only a slight margin. That’ll be the difference in Monday night’s national championship game. By Charles Odum. Moved 550 words, photos on Jan. 7
ATLANTA — Together Nick Saban and Kirby Smart crafted and coached defenses at Alabama that dominated college football for nearly a decade. Now Saban’s Crimson Tide and Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs meet for the national championship. It should be a matchup with no secrets but one of the hallmarks of the Saban-Smart defense has been the ability to morph into many different shapes. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. Moved: 800 words, photos, graphic on Jan. 6
With: FBC--T25-CHAMPSIONSHIP CAPSULE
FBC--T25-CHAMPIONSHIP-IVY LEAGUE TO SEC
ATLANTA — For Cameron Nizialek, it’s a whole new world. He spent the last three seasons punting for Columbia in the Ivy League, where crowds are sparse and football is an afterthought to academics. Now, after landing at Georgia as a graduate transfer, he’s had a chance to excel under the big lights of the Southeastern Conference — with a shot at winning the national title, to boot. By National Writer Paul Newberry. Moved 650 words, photos on Jan. 6
ATLANTA — Alabama and Georgia players say it’s an honor to have President Trump attend Monday night’s College Football Playoff title game but his visit and all the potential distractions that comes with it won’t impact their game preparation. The president’s planned visit is expected to draw political protests. By Pete Iacobelli. Moved 450 words, photos on Jan. 6
ATLANTA — Freshman Ben Cleveland moved into Georgia’s starting lineup at right guard after the Bulldogs’ regular-season loss to Auburn exposed weaknesses on the line. The new chemistry has made all the difference, lifting the No. 3 Bulldogs to Monday night’s national championship game and a big challenge from Alabama’s strong defensive front. By Charles Odum. Moved 600 words, photos on Jan. 6
ATLANTA — Alabama defensive back Tony Brown is all business, saying he wants to focus on the wining the national title and nothing else. The senior didn’t want to talk about his shirtless pregame warmups or his emotional post-Sugar Bowl outbursts at Saturday’s media day. Just business. Just the national championship game. By John Zenor. Moved 500 words, photos on Jan. 6
LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas bookies are looking to cash in on college football’s national championship game. Bettors also are hoping to make a score on the last college football game of the season. Alabama is in Monday night’s title game for the third straight year, and bettors like a known quantity. Georgia brings a fresh challenger after two years of Clemson and a rabid fan base not afraid to wager a few dollars on the school’s chances of winning the national title for the first time in 38 years. By Tim Dahlberg. Moved 630 words, photos on Jan. 6
FBC--T25-PAUL NEWBERRY-SABAN VS SMART
ATLANTA — Kirby Smart needed only two years to guide Georgia’s sleeping giant of a program to the national championship game, where he’ll meet his former boss and perhaps the greatest coach of them all, Alabama’s Nick Saban. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start calling this one a potential changing of the guard. Saban has fended off all potential challenges to his dominance, and it’s a bit too soon to say he’s on verge of being taken down by his one-time defensive coordinator. By Sports Columnist Paul Newberry. Moved 900 words, photos, graphic on Jan. 5
Nick Saban vs. Kirby Smart is only the latest in a line of high-stakes coaching matchups between mentors and mentees over the history of college football. By College Football Writer Eric Olson. MOVED: 700 words, photos on Jan. 5
— With: FBC--T25-CHAMPIONSHIP-MENTOR MATCHUPS-GLANCE
ATLANTA — Georgia has one of college football’s top tailback duos, Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. Alabama counters with the nation’s No. 1 run defense and an offense with Damien Harris leading another deep backfield. By John Zenor. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos on Jan. 5
ATLANTA — Georgia made a short bus ride. For Alabama it was a quick plane trip. Atlanta is practically home away from home for the teams playing in the College Football Playoff National championship game. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. UPCOMING: 300 words, photos by 8 p.m.
ATLANTA — Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts will have to deal with Georgia do-everything linebacker Roquan Smith in a pivotal matchup that will play a significant role in deciding the CFP championship. How the Bulldog’s offensive line deals with Alabama’s Da’ Ron Payne and how the Crimson Tide linebackers handle Georgia running backs Sony Michel and Nick Chubb are other key matchups in Monday night’s title showdown. By AP College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. Moved 700 words, photos on Jan. 4
— With: AP Graphic: NAT CHAMP MATCHUP
ATLANTA — An Atlanta police official says they’re working with the U.S. Secret Service to prepare for a visit to the city by President Donald Trump for Monday’s college football title game. Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos said in a Thursday statement to The Associated Press that “we’re aware of his visit” and are working with the agency charged with protecting the president. Campos said any further comment would have come from the Secret Service. By Jeff Martin. Moved: 200 words, photos on Jan. 4
ATLANTA — Georgia coach Kirby Smart is concerned the emotional drain from the Rose Bowl playoff semifinal win over Oklahoma could affect his team’s ability to regroup for the national championship game against Alabama. Players say they’ll have ample time to be ready for Monday’s game. By Charles Odum. Moved: 550 words, file photos on Jan. 4
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Linebacker Rashaan Evans, the star of Alabama’s injury-depleted group, has had a big season on the field and graduated off it. He’s also shined in the past two national title games. By John Zenor. Moved: 600 words, photos on Jan. 4
Alabama and Georgia don’t play as often as many would think so when the teams meet it’s special, even when it is a regular season matchup. But when the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs meet Monday night in Atlanta it will be an event. The teams, which routinely play each other just four times a decade, will be playing for the College Football Playoff national championship. By Charles Odum. Moved 700 words, photos on Jan. 3
ATLANTA — Two teams from the same conference are playing for the College Football Playoff national title. Two Power Five conferences were left out of the final, including Big Ten champion Ohio State, and an undefeated team was not even close to getting into the semifinals. All this, and still there is no legitimate push to expand the playoff from anyone in power in college football. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. Moved 650 words, photos on Jan. 3
Alabama’s defense not only delivered some payback to Clemson but a strong statement entering the national championship game. For all the injuries and departed stars, the fourth-ranked Crimson Tide’s ‘D’ still is tops in college football. The group propelled Alabama into the title game matchup with fellow Southeastern Conference power No. 3 Georgia and 1,000-yard rushers Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. By John Zenor. Moved 625 words, photos on Jan. 2
The resolve of Sony Michel and his Georgia teammates helped lift the Bulldogs to within one win of their first national championship in almost four decades. Michel and his teammates wouldn’t give up in the double-overtime 54-48 Rose Bowl win over Oklahoma that has the Bulldogs in the national championship game against Alabama. By Charles Odum. Moved 700 words, photos on Jan. 2
FBC--COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF
S-E-C! S-E-C! Alabama and Georgia won their College Football Playoff semifinals and will meet in the national championship next week, appropriately, at the home of the Southeastern Conference title game. The fourth-ranked Crimson Tide smothered No. 1 Clemson in their Sugar Bowl rubber match after the third-ranked Bulldogs won the first overtime Rose Bowl ever, a wild 54-48 victory that eliminated No. 2 Oklahoma and Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. By AP College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. Moved 900 words, photos on Jan. 2