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How to watch the College Football National Championship game and know what’s going on

The Louisiana State University Tigers are taking on the, er, Clemson Tigers in the 2020 National College Football Championship game on Monday night, and it’s bound to be a cat fight. Or a tiger fight. Either way, here’s everything you need to know to enjoy some stripe-on-stripe action:

The game starts at 8:00 p.m. ET, but there are hours of programming ahead of time if you just can’t wait to scratch the football itch.

The game will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, which means it’s almost like home field advantage for the LSU Tigers.

How can I watch the National Championship game?

The game will be on ESPN, but you can also stream it on the WatchESPN app. College football lifers won’t want to miss the Championship Drive on ESPN, starting at 6:00 p.m. ET (that’s where they pick who they think will win and Lee Corso dons a mascot head.)

Wait, if both teams are tigers, how will we know what tiger head he picks?

They are different, but equally unsettling tiger heads. LSU’s mascot has a rounder face and looks like a hot cross bun.

Clemson’s is the one with eyes that have seen death.

Also, you can tell by the colors. LSU’s colors are purple and gold, while Clemson’s are orange and purple (yes, it’s quite a fashion statement)

A photo from an old LSU-Clemson matchup, so you can adjust your eyes to the colors.

Are the LSU Tigers a different…kind of tiger? Are there different kinds of tigers?

There are nine different classifications of tigers in the wild. LSU actually keeps a live tiger as a mascot (though he thankfully doesn’t have to dress up in a little jersey or anything). He is named Mike, as all good tigers are. He actually comes from a long and proud line of Mikes, like an English monarch, so he officially is called Mike VII. Most of LSU’s Mikes have been Bengal tigers, but Mike VII is a Bengal-Siberian mix.
A previous Mike

Clemson’s tiger is literally just called “The Tiger.” He doesn’t want to talk about it so back off.

So both of these teams are really good

They are both really, really good. The Clemson Tigers are old hats at this Championship stuff. Since the current college football playoff format began in 2014, the Clemson Tigers have reached the championship round four times, and won two titles.

Despite being a force to be reckoned with in the SEC for, well, ever, LSU is only reaching this stage for the first time in the modern College Football Playoffs. They do have three other claimed national titles though, the latest from 2007.

Great! Tell me more

The Clemson Tigers will represent the Atlantic Coast Conference (the ACC). They are coached by Dabo Swinney, who is the highest-paid college coach in history.
"Wow I'm rich!"

The LSU Tigers will represent the aforementioned Southeastern Conference (SEC), and are coached by Oscar the Grouch’s large intimidating uncle, Ed Orgeron.

The LSU Tigers also have the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Joe Burrow. He seems like a really good kid.
LSU Quarterback Joe Burrow

Clemson’s quarterback is Trevor Lawrence, who also seems like a good kid AND has excellent hair.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, right.

Who should I root for?

If you’re from the South, we shouldn’t have to tell you who to root for. Family history, long-drawn battle lines and inter-conference rivalries probably sorted that out before you were born. If you’re from the North, maybe just watch some hockey?

For everyone else, it comes down to this: If you like watching re-runs, root for Clemson. If you like watching re-boots where the plot and characters are just a slightly different version of other shows you’ve enjoyed watching in the past, root for LSU.

What should I say to get hyped?

If you’re rooting for LSU: Take a deep breath. Go outside and face the house of your most hated neighbor. Feel the rumble of thousands of fans in the stands; the smell of the leather and turf and sweat; the cheers of joy and cries of agony that ring out with every play, and scream: Geaux Tigers!

If you’re rooting for Clemson: Just pronounce Dabo Swinney’s name correctly. Everyone will know where your allegiances lie.

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