This is what the city envisioned when it began to set plans for Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The $1.5 billion building wouldn’t just be the new home of the Falcons and Atlanta United – it would be the spot where college football would drop its pin on the map as its new capital. And all weekend, as is true every other day, Atlanta has been the epicenter of college football.
A city with rooting interests as diverse as its racial makeup, the college football bigwigs knew what they’d be getting when they selected Atlanta as the site for the 2018 college football championship game. There would be a weeklong party, with concerts, tailgating and football fever.
They just didn’t know they’d be so lucky to have two teams from less than 200 miles away playing in the game.
Georgia and Alabama will cap the party Monday night, but there will be more championship weekends in Atlanta. Plenty more. In a city that embraces college football more than anything else – heck, the College Football Hall of Fame left freakin’ South Bend for Atlanta just a few years ago – it’s hard to imagine future championship games going anywhere else.
On Tuesday morning, normalcy will return. Though very sleepy, Atlanta will go back to work, and college football’s offseason will officially begin. It’ll be a long eight months of recruiting talk, followed by anticipation and trash talk amongst fan bases. We’ll talk frequently about the torture we endure waiting for the next season of college football.
But come Monday, Atlanta will never be the same. When toe meets leather Monday night, Atlanta will officially be crowned the home city of college football.Follow @Sean_Breslin