Alabama football to play College Football Playoff semifinal in Rose Bowl against Notre Dame

Brett Hudson
Tide Sports

Alabama is the No. 1 seed in the 2020-21 College Football Playoff and will play No. 4 Notre Dame in its semifinal in the Rose Bowl in Arlington, Texas, on Jan. 1.

The CFP Selection Committee confirmed UA as its No. 1 team in its playoff field reveal on Sunday, keeping the Crimson Tide where it has been since the rankings started on Nov. 24.

The Crimson Tide has now been in the College Football Playoff six times in the four-team playoff format's seven-year history, the one exception being last season.

If Alabama beats Notre Dame, it will play the winner of the matchup between No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. UA's semifinal with Notre Dame was moved from Pasadena, California, to AT&T Stadium late Saturday night.

The national championship game is in Miami on Jan. 11.

Typically, UA would have played in the Sugar Bowl as the No. 1 seed, given the geographic proximity and the SEC's deep connections to the Sugar Bowl. Instead, UA will play in the Rose Bowl in Arlington, Texas, for the benefit of fan attendance.

"We know that there’s going to be 16,000 fans able to watch in Arlington. We know there will be 3,000 fans in New Orleans," Iowa athletics director and CFP Selection Committee chair Gary Barta said. "The committee decided the advantage is for the No. 1 team to have more fans able to watch."

Notre Dame stayed in the playoff field despite a 34-10 loss to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game on Saturday. The Irish were boosted to No. 2 primarily by beating Clemson in the regular season, 47-40 in double overtime at home, but did so while Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and several key defenders were out with COVID-19. In the rematch, Lawrence threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns, plus 90 rushing yards and another score.

Alabama and Notre Dame have not met since the BCS Championship Game on Jan. 7, 2013, a 42-14 Alabama win that secured back-to-back championships.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said this year's team is more prepared for the task of facing Alabama, especially on the lines of scrimmage.

"I think we have the ability to move the football, certainly," Kelly said.

Reach Brett Hudson at 205-722-0196 or or via Twitter, @Brett_Hudson