Touchdown, Baby

Your guide for College Football Playoff National Championship weekend in Houston

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In January 2024, Houston will become a hotbed for sports fans when it hosts the College Football Playoff National Championship weekend, with the big game happening on January 8.

Downtown Houston will serve as the heart of Championship Campus, providing the setting for such CFP signature events as Playoff Fan Central, AT&T Playoff Playlist Live!, the Trophy Trot 5K and 10K, Taste of the Championship, and the Allstate Championship Tailgate.

It's a lot to take in — we break down each event for you here:

Playoff Fan Central, January 5-7
George R. Brown Convention Center
Find free football fun with games, clinics, pep rallies, band performances, special guest appearances, autograph signings, and exhibits celebrating college football and its history. And we mentioned it's all free, right?

AT&T Playoff Playlist Live!, January 5-7
Shell Energy Stadium
These free concerts are the soundtrack for championship weekend, beginning with Kidz Bop on Friday, January 5. You don't need a wristband for that concert, but you do for the rest: rap superstar Jack Harlow, two-time Grammy nominee Latto, Grand Ole Opry member Jon Pardi, chart topping country superstar Jake Owen, and multi-platinum country artist-songwriter Megan Moroney.

Register for concert tickets online in advance, show the QR code on the CFBPlayoff mobile app at the convention center, and receive your wristband for entry.

Trophy Trot, January 7
Downtown Houston
This family-friendly run/walk begins at 9 am and, for the first time, will feature both 5K and 10K distances. Each Trophy Trot participant receives a T-shirt and medal, and there will be multiple opportunities to win tickets to the CFP National Championship the next day.

All proceeds benefit Extra Yard for Teachers, the College Football Playoff Foundation's primary platform that elevates the teaching profession by inspiring and empowering quality teachers. Registration is open now.

Taste of the Championship, January 7
Union Station at Minute Maid Park
A premium dining experience and fundraising event that lets attendees indulge in gourmet food and drink prepared by Houston chefs. All proceeds benefit the CFP Foundation's Extra Yard for Teachers platform, and tickets are on sale now.

Allstate Championship Tailgate, January 8
NRG Stadium
If you're lucky enough to score a game ticket, head to Blue Lots 16, 17, and 18 from 11 am-6 pm for interactive games, sponsor activations, concessions, live ESPN broadcasts, award-winning musical acts, and live performances by each team’s marching band.

We'll say it again: A national championship game ticket is required for entry to Allstate Championship Tailgate.

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Keep an eye on Championship Campus online for news and updates.

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Cristian Javier is in better shape this season. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

As the Astros prepare to play their first game of spring training against the Nationals this Saturday, we're starting to see reports about how the players approached the offseason, and what tweaks they made to improve in the 2024 season.

Cristian Javier is a player Astros fans are hoping bounces back this year, as his ERA jumped from 2.54 in 2022 to 4.56 in 2023. Workload was thought to be one of the main factors causing his regression, he dealt with a dead arm last season and threw more innings than ever before (162).

Another explanation could be the pitch clock. This was another new element all pitchers had to deal with last year, and that also likely played a role in his struggles.

But according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Javier believes he was carrying some extra weight last season. Add that to some mechanical issues he was experiencing, and his struggles in 2023 make a lot more sense. And to be fair, he wouldn't be the first person to get a little fat and happy after winning a World Series.

In an effort to get back on track in 2024, Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. With the pitch clock not going anywhere, pitchers need to be in better cardiac shape than ever before.

Hopefully this modification helps Javier return to form and put up jaw-dropping numbers like he did in 2022. This rotation needs Javier to be the dominate pitcher we all know he's capable of being. With Justin Verlander behind schedule and Framber Valdez trying to bounce back from his own down year, Houston will depend on Javier like never before.

The Astros are certainly counting on it after giving him a 5-year, $64 million contract last season. Javier will definitely be a player to watch this spring.

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