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Mark Richt publishes heartfelt message to Georgia Bulldogs

Mark Richt weighed in on Georgia’s appearance in tonight’s College Football Playoff National Championship Game, and he’s eager to deliver well-wishes to his former team.

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On Monday, the former Bulldogs coach used Twitter to write that he’s “happy for the players, coaches and the Georgia people” before the Bulldogs play Alabama to decide the national title on Monday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. This is a nice move from Richt, who went 145-51 as Georgia’s coach from 2001 to 2015.

This is a classy gesture by the coach, who clearly still has feelings for his former program. He gave life to the University of Miami this season while leading the Hurricanes to a 10-3 record with an appearance in the ACC Championship Game and Orange Bowl.

It’s safe to say Richt will be watching closely Monday night with the Bulldogs on his mind.

FBI: Don't fly drones in downtown Atlanta through championship game day

As the country turns its eyes to Atlanta for the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday, the FBI is pushing one important message: Keep those drones away.

>> Visit AJC.com for complete coverage of the national championship game

Any aircraft, drones included, are prohibited from flying near the venues used during the championship weekend and game day, including Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Centennial Olympic Park and the Georgia World Congress Center.

>> More coverage from DawgNation.com

Violators would face prosecution under federal law for “flying drones in restricted space,” FBI spokesman Kevin Rowson said Sunday. “Temporary flight restrictions” are in effect.

>> Visit WSBTV.com for more Georgia Bulldogs news

>> Best of the best: The history of college football’s national championship game

Despite previous publicity about the law, officials spotted drones over some venues on Saturday, Rowson said.

>> Read more trending news 

President Donald Trump is expected to attend the game, leading to an increase in security, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms promised a "safe, smooth and secure" event for the more than 100,000 attendees, and police urged people to leave any firearms at home.

Georgia couple hopes to cash in with cool product at championship game

Georgia couple hopes to score financially as the College Football Playoff National Championship Game comes to Atlanta.

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Aaron and Helga Thompson, of Covington, are owners of A&H Cool Cooler Creation, a home-based business that makes University of Georgia-inspired coolers from styrofoam encased in plywood and upholstered in vinyl.

Helga Thompson sews on the decals and does the upholstering and her husband does the rest.

It helps that both are also big Georgia fans.

The business began as a hobby. Thompson was messing around in his garage making something to carry on his Kawasaki Vulcan 1600, and said “it just developed from there.”

“I figured it was something the fan could take home as useful memorabilia instead of something that just sits on a shelf,” said Thompson, a retired federal worker and veteran of Operation Desert Storm. His wife is a retired nurse.

Prices for the  coolers range from $30 to $100.

>> Georgia Bulldogs prepare for title game

Thompson said he recently made one for an Alabama fan and has done some for various nonprofits and causes.

He and his wife plan to hit Dawg Country this weekend, and then camp out near Mercedes-Benz Stadium when Georgia meets Alabama on Monday night.

Although most of his coolers are for Georgia fans, in the end, Aaron Thompson just wants a good game and fans to be happy.

“I think they both deserve it,” he said.

Photos: The scene as Georgia, Alabama prepare for national title game

Players, coaches meet the press, then teams practice, and fans take in some fun activities two days before the big game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Lots of tickets still available for national championship game

Fans wanting to cheer on Georgia or Alabama alongside more than 70,000 of their closest friends still have plenty of options. Online brokers are still showing a good bit of inventory.

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Tickets aren’t a bargain by any stretch but haven’t climbed back to the eye-popping levels they started at shortly after Georgia’s historic Rose Bowl victory.

>> Georgia Bulldogs prepare for title game

At the moment Vivid Seats has seats starting at $1,393. Earlier this week the lowest price was more than $1,900. Stubhub’s lowest priced offering is $1,428.

Best of the best: The history of college football’s national championship game

The Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs will take the field Monday night to battle for the title of the best college football team in the nation.

The national championship is awarded each season to the top collegiate team in the country. Prior to the playoff era of college football, championship teams were selected by a number of organizations, people and publications. 

>> Georgia Bulldogs prepare for title game

The Associated Press is the longest-standing selector of the champion, having awarded the title annually since 1936, when Texas A&M took the title. 

President Richard Nixon in 1969 made the unprecedented move of announcing that he would award the winner of the championship game the trophy after No. 1 Texas and No. 2 Arkansas duked it out on the field. Texas ultimately walked away with the trophy that year, according to NCAA records

The Bowl Championship Series, or BCS, was established in 1998. The BCS combined the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, the Harris Interactive Poll and the average of six separate computer rankings to name the top two teams in the nation. 

The BCS rankings proved controversial, particularly in 2003, when No. 3 Oklahoma was chosen over the top-ranked team, USC, to play in the title game, NCAA officials said. That season ended with split national champions: the LSU Tigers, who won the BCS title, and the USC Trojans, who were named the champions by the Associated Press. 

The final BCS championship game was played in 2013, replaced the following year by the College Football Playoffs, in which a four-team tournament was established to determine the national champion. 

The Bulldogs earned their spot in the title game by defeating the Oklahoma Sooners 54 to 48 in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. Their win came after the game went into double overtime. 

The Crimson Tide, who last won the title in 2015, earned their spot in the big game with a 24 to 6 win over the Clemson Tigers, who were the national champs in 2016. 

Click here for additional coverage of University of Georgia football

Read more about UGA Football at Dawg Nation

University of Georgia football by the numbers

The University of Georgia Bulldogs will take on the Alabama Crimson Tide Monday night in a battle for the national championship. 

The game will be played at 7 p.m. Central Standard Time, 8 p.m. Eastern, at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Ahead of the big game, here is a by-the-numbers look at some of the Bulldogs' history.

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>> Georgia Bulldogs prepare for title game

1892: The University of Georgia played its first football game. A month later, the school became part of the South’s oldest college football rivalry when it played Auburn University for the first time.

1920: The Bulldogs officially became the name of the university’s football team, according to official team history.

10: The number of bulldogs who have served as Uga, the official mascot of the UGA football team. Each Uga has descended from Uga I, who sired a line of English bulldogs owned by Sonny Seiler, of Savannah, Georgia. The current mascot, Que, became Uga X in 2015. 

1964: Vince Dooley, UGA’s most winningest coach, was hired as head coach. Dooley coached the team through its 1988 season. 

201: The number of wins Dooley led the team to in his time as coach. 

808: The total number of wins the Bulldogs have amassed in their history.

>> Read more about UGA Football at Dawg Nation

6: The number of SEC championships the Bulldogs achieved under Dooley’s leadership. Dooley had a record of 201-77-10 in his 24 years as Bulldogs head coach.

1980: The year Dooley led the Bulldogs to the national championship.

13: The total number of SEC championships for UGA.

53: The number of bowl games the Bulldogs have played.

2: The number of national championships claimed by the Bulldogs.

92,746: The official capacity of Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia, where the Bulldogs play all their home games. 

>> Click here for additional coverage of University of Georgia football

1996: Sanford Stadium hosted the medal round of the 1996 Summer Olympics men’s and women’s soccer competition. 

2016: Current head coach Kirby Smart was hired to lead the Bulldogs. Immediately prior to his hiring at Georgia, Smart served as defensive coordinator for the Crimson Tide.  

4: The number of Georgia coaches in the College Football Hall of Fame. Those coaches are Dooley, Glenn “Pop” Warner, Wally Butts and Jim Donnan.

University of Alabama football by the numbers

The University of Alabama Crimson Tide will take on the Georgia Bulldogs Monday night in a battle for the national championship. 

The game will be played at 7 p.m. Central Standard Time, 8 p.m. Eastern, at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Ahead of the big game, here is a by-the-numbers look at some of the Crimson Tide’s unique history.

>> Read more trending news

1892: The University of Alabama football team, then known as the “Alabama Cadets,” played its first game. The university itself was founded in 1820.

1906: The UA team became known as the “Thin Red Line.” Its famous “Crimson Tide” label came the following year, in 1907, according to the Paul W. Bryant Museum.

1948: After more than 40 years of a rivalry so heated that they refused to play one another, the University of Alabama and Auburn University once again took to the field. The annual Iron Bowl between the two teams is one of the highlights of the year for fans on both sides of the stadium. 

1958: Legendary head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant took the helm of the Crimson Tide. Bryant ultimately coached the team through its 1982 season.

323: The number of wins Bryant racked up at Alabama. At the time of his retirement, he held the record for the most wins by a coach in college football. 

878: The number of official wins the Tide has earned in its history.

14: The number of SEC titles the Tide achieved under Bryant’s leadership. Bryant, known for his trademark houndstooth hat, had a record of 323-85-17 over his 25-year coaching career at the university. 

26: The Tide’s total number of SEC championships.

64: The number of bowl games the Tide has played.

16: The number of national championships the university claims, the most of any school in the SEC, the Bryant Museum said. The team’s most recent national title was in 2015 under current head coach Nick Saban.

101,821: The capacity of Bryant-Denny Stadium at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where the Tide plays all its home games. 

2007: The year Saban was hired to lead the Tide. Immediately prior to coaching at Alabama, Saban was head coach at Louisiana State University.

2: Bryant and Saban are the only two college football coaches to win SEC championships at two different schools. 

3: The number of Alabama coaches in the College Football Hall of Fame. Besides Bryant, those coaches include Frank Thomas and Eugene Stallings.

>> Click here for more coverage of University of Georgia football

>> Georgia Bulldogs prepare for title game

>> Read about UGA Football at Dawg Nation

Alabama’s Nick Saban has remarkable record against former assistants

Nick Saban’s coaching tree stretches far and wide.

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At Monday’s national championship game in Atlanta, Kirby Smart will be the sixth former assistant to face Saban as the head coach of an opposing team.

Before being named Georgia’s head coach in 2015, Smart spent 10 years on a Saban coaching staff at Alabama, LSU and the Miami Dolphins.

>> Related: Saban admits beating Georgia won’t be easy

In 11 games against former assistants, Saban is a remarkable 11-0. In those games, Saban teams have outscored opponents an outlandish 427-111.

>> Related: The National Championship game: What time, what channel, odds, livestream for Alabama vs. Georgia

The list of pupils includes Derek Dooley (Tennessee), Jim McElwain (Colorado State, Florida), Will Muschamp (Florida), Mark Dantonio (Michigan State), and Jimbo Fisher (Florida State).

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