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SportsPulse: For The Win’s Michelle Martinelli sets the stage for yet another showdown between college football powerhouses Alabama and Clemson.
USA TODAY

Ticket prices for the College Football Playoff national championship game between No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Clemson have plummeted compared with recent years. Some fans believe it’s because the teams are based significantly closer to the East Coast but will have to trek to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, for Monday’s game.

Although traveling to the West Coast is a disadvantage for some, it’s particularly convenient for the family of Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

At least 405 family members of the first-year starter are planning to attend the game, and that number is expected to increase, AL.com reported Friday.

While Tagovailoa will have many traveling from his home state of Hawaii, a significant number of his relatives are from the Bay Area, so getting to the Santa Clara stadium, which is about 40 miles outside of San Francisco, requires minimal travel. But family members are also driving from Utah, Colorado and Seattle, according to the report.

Derek Faavi, one of the quarterback’s uncles, said although the family is excited to show support for Tagovailoa, the game will “feel like a little family reunion” — little by their family’s standards.

Tua has an enormous family. Father Galu is the oldest of nine. Mom Diane is the oldest of 10. Many of their siblings have large families as well. Most of them are going to the game. Consider all of that support for Tagovailoa to be Alabama’s secret weapon in a game where every edge physically, emotionally or spiritually could make the difference between winning and losing.

“We have family all throughout the West Coast, so it’s great,” Faavi said. “We’re so thankful that it’s close to us.”

For many of Tagovailoa’s family members, the national championship game being on the West Coast could be their only chance to see the sophomore quarterback play in person.

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But his parents actually have a longer trip.

Galu and Diane Tagovailoa moved to Alabama last year so they could go to their son’s games. And Tua’s younger brother, Taulia, is a four-star high school senior in Alabaster, Alabama, and committed to the Crimson Tide.

The game is the fourth meeting between Alabama and Clemson in as many years and the third time they’ve played in the title game under the playoff format. The game is at 8 p.m. Monday on ESPN.

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