The College Football Playoff still has a semifinal game called the Rose Bowl. It has been relocated to Texas. No. 1 Alabama takes on No. 4 Notre Dame on New Year's Day. The game was moved because of COVID-19 restrictions in its traditional home of Pasadena, California.
The Crimson Tide are trying to get in the championship game for the fifth time in six seasons. Notre Dame lost its only previous CFP appearance 30-3 to Clemson two years ago. The Tide and Irish last played eight seasons ago. Alabama won 42-14 in the BCS national title game.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
Alabama is trying to get in the College Football Playoff championship game for the fifth time in six seasons. Notre Dame is making its second CFP appearance, two years after a 30-3 loss to Clemson at AT&T Stadium. The Crimson Tide and Irish last played eight seasons ago, when Alabama won 42-14 in the BCS national title game on Jan. 7, 2013, in suburban Miami, where this year's CFP title game is scheduled Jan. 11.
Notre Dame QB Ian Book vs. Alabama defense. The fifth-year senior, a two-time captain, is the school's winningest starting quarterback (30-4) and had 266 consecutive attempts between his two interceptions this season. He completed 64% percent of his passes for 2,601 yards and 15 touchdowns, and rushed for 430 yards and eight scores. The Crimson Tide did allow 46 points to Florida while Heisman Trophy finalist Kyle Trask threw for 408 yards in the SEC title game, but their previous six opponents combined for only 53 points. Alabama has 32 sacks and has returned three of its 11 interceptions for touchdowns.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
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Alabama: Junior QB Mac Jones and senior WR DeVonta Smith, both Heisman Trophy finalists. Jones has thrown for 3,739 yards and 32 TDs with four interceptions while completing 76.5% (250 of 327) of his passes. Smith is the SEC career leader with 40 TD catches, with a school-record 17 this season when he has 98 receptions for 1,511 yards.
Notre Dame: Senior LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. The AP All-American also won the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker with 56 tackles (38 solos), 11 tackles for loss. He had one interception and recovered two fumbles, one he returned for a touchdown in a win against Clemson.
FACTS & FIGURES
Relocated from its traditional home in Pasadena because of COVID-19 restrictions in California, the Rose Bowl will be the second New Year's Six game played at AT&T Stadium in less than 48 hours. The Cotton Bowl was Wednesday night, and the turnover of the stadium started almost immediately after Oklahoma's 55-20 win over Florida.
Notre Dame is 4-3 when facing a No. 1 team in a bowl game. Alabama is 4-0 at AT&T Stadium, including 38-0 over Michigan State in the semifinal game at the Cotton Bowl five seasons ago.