ESPN announced Wednesday that it will re-air the College Football Playoff National Championship Game from January 2017 at 7 p.m., Thursday as part of its Throwback Thursday: College Football Classics series.
ESPN will have additional special elements airing on the ESPN family of networks beginning Thursday morning to hype up the re-broadcast.
One of college football’s most dramatic season endings will be revisited on Thursday, May 21, as the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship between Alabama and Clemson will be ESPN’s Throwback Thursday: College Football Classics Presented by Allstate (7 p.m. ET). The encore presentation will be amplified by new segments with Tigers’ head coach Dabo Swinney and ESPN’s Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Chris “The Bear” Fallica. The quartet will recall the build-up to the CFP rematch, the Tigers’ second half surge led by quarterback Deshaun Watson, and the game-winning touchdown reception by wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, sealing Clemson’s second national championship and first in more than 35 years.
The 2017 CFP National Championship was the second consecutive matchup of the Tigers and Tide in the sport’s pinnacle game, with Alabama looking for back-to-back national championships. Clemson would take its first lead of the game in the fourth quarter, before Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts’ 30-yard touchdown regained the lead for the Crimson Tide with just over two minutes remaining, setting up the dramatic finish. Trailing 31-28, Watson would lead a nine-play, 68-yard drive which was capped with a two-yard touchdown pass to Renfrow with one second remaining to give Clemson the victory.
The game would feature future NFL talent on both sides, as 30 of the 44 starters would be drafted into the NFL, including 14 first round picks:
- Alabama: Jonathan Allen, Rashaan Evans, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Reuben Foster, OJ Howard, Daron Payne, Marlon Humphrey, Calvin Ridley and Jonah Williams
- Clemson: Watson, Dexter Lawrence, Mike Williams and Christian Wilkins
Fowler and Herbstreit were in the booth, with Samantha Ponder and Tom Rinaldi reporting from the sidelines.
Special Elements around CFP Encore Presentation
All on Thursday, May 21
- Renfrow will join SportsCenter (noon); ESPN’s Desmond Howard and David Pollack appear on Get Up (8 a.m.)
- Leading into the game, Fowler and Fallica will join Maria Taylor for a special 15 minute social pregame show via the ESPN App and @ESPN Twitter handle.
- ESPN.com will relive the best finishes to college football national championship games
- ESPN’s College Football Twitter Handle will also amplify the presentation; ESPN’s Stats and Info Twitter handle will conduct trivia
- ESPN’s BottomLine will add to the encore presentation, providing historical context and supplemental information throughout the night
- ESPNU will surround ESPN’s presentation with additional notable Clemson-Alabama matchups, including the 2016 CFP National Championship (10 a.m.), the 2018 CFP Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl (1 p.m.) and 2019 CFP National Championship (4 p.m.)
- ACC Network will air Clemson-centric programming, including Greatest Ever: 2018 Clemson Tigers (4 p.m.), ACC Traditions: Clemson (4:30 p.m.) and All In: The Clemson Football Family – Parts 1 through 4 (5-7 p.m.)
Throwback Thursday: CFB Classics Continue
Next week’s Throwback Thursday: College Football Classic is the 2003 Fiesta Bowl National Championship between Miami and Ohio State, with additional production elements to be announced in the coming days. ESPN’s encore college football presentations are one part of network’s primetime slate, which includes Monday Night Classics (NFL), MLB Encore Tuesdays and NBA Wednesday Nights.
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