Alabama advances to College Football Playoff national championship game


The top-ranked Crimson Tide have advanced to the College Football Playoff national championship game, defeating the fourth-ranked Fighting Irish 31-14 in the Rose Bowl semifinal on Friday.

Alabama (12-0) will face either No. 2 Clemson (10-1) or No. 3 Ohio State (6-0) in the championship game. Clemson and Ohio State are playing in the other semifinal, the Sugar Bowl, in New Orleans.

The Rose Bowl semifinal game had been moved from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, because of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. The game was relocated because families of the football teams would not have been able to attend the game in Pasadena. The announced attendance Friday in Arlington was 18,373.

“We’ve played here (AT&T Stadium) before,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “I think this is one of the finest venues in college football. I don’t think that there’s anything quite like the Rose Bowl. The tradition, the setting, the mountains, it’s just a phenomenal experience to play in the Rose Bowl. I wish our players would have gotten that opportunity, but at the same time, these people did a phenomenal job of the transition from the Rose Bowl to here.”

Alabama was led by Heisman finalists Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith on offense. Jones completed 25 of 30 passes for 297 yards and four touchdowns. Smith, the first wide receiver to win The Associated Press’ player of the year award, caught seven passes for 130 yards, tying a Rose Bowl record with three touchdown catches. Additionally, Najee Harris rushed for 125 yards on 15 carries and had 30 receiving yards.

Notre Dame (10-2) ends the season with back-to-back lopsided losses, the other coming to Clemson in the ACC title game.

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Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly did not appear to enjoy the line of questioning from reporters after once again losing in the College Football Playoff; Notre Dame lost 30-3 to Clemson in the semifinals two seasons ago.

“We’re not going away,” Kelly said. “Great year. It’s not where we wanted it. We wanted to win a national championship. But Notre Dame nation, you guys can get some sleep, recharge your battery, and we’re going to get ourselves back in this position again. So you don’t need to jump off a bridge, a building. We’re going to keep working, we’re going to rededicate ourselves in the offseason, back in the weight room, and we hope to get right back here in Dallas next year.”

The national championship game is scheduled for January 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

It’s worth mentioning that Alabama and Wisconsin Badgers football match will be a historical one as it’s scheduled to happen on Sept.14, 2024, and Sept.13, 2025, so stay tuned for that.


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