INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Latest on the College Football Playoff championship game (all times local):
A sellout crowd, clad largely in red, filled Lucas Oil Stadium arrived early for the national championship game between SEC rivals No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia.
Organizers were following the county health department's guidelines — strongly encouraging masks be worn but not requiring it. Unlike last year's title game in Miami, fans were not socially distanced.
Capacity of the stadium is about 70,000.
New College Football Hall of Fame inductee Andrew Luck returned to Lucas Oil Stadium for what is believed to be his first appearance at the Indianapolis Colts home field since he retired unexpectedly in August 2019.
Luck was one of 21 former players or coaches named as part of this year's Hall of Fame class earlier in the day.
The two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up looked much thinner than he did when playing for the Colts from 2012-18. He was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2012 and replaced Peyton Manning as the Colts starter.
When word leaked of Luck's retirement near the end of a preseason game, Indy fans began booing. After the game, Luck made made his official retirement announcement — a little sooner than he had planned.
Indianapolis’ city streets were bustling Monday afternoon, almost five hours before No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia played for college football’s national championship.
The blue Colts attire that local fans usually wear was replaced with red hats, shirts, jackets and jerseys of the two Southeastern Conference teams, playing for a title in the Midwest.
Fans waited in long lines inside and outside restaurants despite temperatures hovering in the mid-20s, while others flocked to Monument Circle for afternoon concerts with Breland and Sam Hunt underneath the sun-drenched skies.
Alabama beat Georgia five weeks ago in the SEC title game, but the Bulldogs are a slight favorite. This is the first rematch for the championship in the playoff era.
The game kicks off at Lucas Oil Stadium at 8 p.m. and airs on ESPN.
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