The country stars performing at CMT Ultimate Kickoff Party Live From the College Football Playoff National Championship certainly found their callings in music, but they all have a deep-rooted love of college football, too.
Some used to play and others were born with their favorite school’s colors coursing through their veins.
With the college national championship game ready to get underway Monday (Jan. 12), Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum, Brett Eldredge, Maddie & Tae, Thomas Rhett and more will kick off the celebration during a live, 90-minute show on Friday night at 9 p.m. ET on CMT.
But first, they sat down to explain why they love the sport and what it means to them.
Toby Keith: Born and raised in Oklahoma, football is all about identity for him.
Maddie & Tae: There’s just as much brains as there is brawn behind a winning team.
Brett Eldredge: The Illinois native has fond memories of playing tight end in high school, and that was before a major growth spurt.
Thomas Rhett: You can take the boy out of Georgia, but you can’t take Georgia out of the boy.