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NCAA football champion will be decided in a game between Alabama, Georgia

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

College football bragging rights in the Deep South are at stake tonight. And fans everywhere will be watching as the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs play one more time for the National Championship. 'Bama fans are hoping for a repeat of their last matchup.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Bryce Young drops. Plenty of time. Airing it out. Man's there. Jameson Williams. Touchdown.

Bennett puts the brakes on and threw an interception. There's the mistake Georgia didn't need.

Bryce Young. Touchdown, Alabama.

(CHEERING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Does it with his arms. And now he does it with his legs.

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

Yikes. That's the stuff of nightmares for Georgia fans. In last month's Southeastern Conference Championship game, Alabama and their Heisman-winning quarterback, Bryce Young, handed the Bulldogs their first and, so far, only loss of the season. Tonight, the rematch.

KATHERINE LEWIS: I mean, Georgia has absolutely steamrolled all but one of its opponents this year. I think this Georgia team is really looking for revenge against Alabama this year.

MARTIN: That's Katherine Lewis. She's the assistant sports editor for Georgia's school newspaper, The Red & Black. But she admits that recent history has not been kind to the Bulldogs.

LEWIS: Alabama has honestly been dominant over Georgia the past few years. The last time Georgia beat Alabama was in 2007. So I think Alabama fans don't tend to see it as a rivalry.

MARTINEZ: But good news for Georgia fans. Their team is actually favored to stop the tide in tonight's game. Making it this far is just what Alabama does. This is the school's sixth appearance at the championship game in the last seven seasons. But clearly, they still have some doubters. Ashlee Woods is the sports editor for the Crimson White. She says that the Alabama players have enjoyed their newfound status as the underdog.

ASHLEE WOODS: We're just embracing that people are doubting us. And that - it's because they're embracing that new identity, you know? And it's not really necessarily new. I guess it's, like, unfamiliar for people in the Nick Saban era.

MARTIN: Saban is Alabama's extremely successful head coach.

WOODS: This will be, should Alabama win, Nick Saban's seventh title.

MARTIN: But Woods says this year hasn't been particularly easy for the Crimson Tide.

WOODS: A very, very interesting season as far as the way it's kind of been up and down, at least to, like, the Alabama standard.

MARTINEZ: So whether the tide rolls or the dogs sic 'em, one thing is for certain - busloads of students will make their way to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for tonight's game. Katherine Lewis says her school is expecting lots of empty seats on the first day of classes for the start of the spring semester.

LEWIS: Will be interesting to see what class attendance is like on Monday and Tuesday. I'm not really sure how that's going to go. But in the meantime, I think Georgia students are really going to be cheering on in Indianapolis and also in Athens.

MARTINEZ: Keep it classy, kids. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.