ATHENS, Ga. -- It seemed a little pointless.
The Georgia Bulldogs bused to Atlanta on Friday night to the team hotel for the national championship. They were up and at Philips Arena by 9 a.m. to answer the media's questions for one hour. After that, they got back on the bus and traveled back to Athens to their own facility for the final practice of the season.
Head coach Kirby Smart said on Saturday that the schedule was set up before the Rose Bowl. The playoff teams had to send in information on where they would like to practice before the first playoff game.
"We thought it would be best to be in our normal setting, which is to be in our meeting rooms, in our training room, in our recovery rooms, and on our practice field," Smart said.
Options for the Bulldogs included the Atlanta Falcons' indoor practice facility located in Flowery Branch. They also could have practice at Georgia Tech (did you really expect them to go there?). But Smart asked the CFP for permission to practice at their home, and it was granted.
They'll practice at their $30 million indoor facility the team opened last year before the current season started.
The drive back to Athens is about an hour and 10 minutes drive with a police escort, but the drive to Flowery Branch wouldn't have been much faster. Plus, the team wanted to stay inside and out of Alabama's way. But the Crimson Tide were able to practice inside Mercedes-Benz.
"The weather is cold. We're going to play inside," Smart said. "You know, it gives Alabama an opportunity to use the Georgia Tech place, facilities, so we don't have to share that one with them. It just works better for us. We think it gives us what we need, which is our facility, our rehab facilities, our meeting facilities, being familiar."
Being in their regular setting is definitely advantageous for the Bulldogs. They're used to busing. They did it a lot on Los Angeles. And it should help them create some more normalcy in a chaotic and stressful week.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban didn't have much to say about it.
"I've got enough to worry about, about our team," Saban said. "I'm sure their coaching staff is capable enough of making the right decisions for what they do. I'm worried about what we're going to do in practice today. I'm worried about our team."
The Bulldogs likely didn't save any money by busing back and forth to their own facility. But the familiarity may be worth it. Familiarity on the practice field, then familiarly in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where they have already dominated an SEC West team to eventually get to the championship.