The 2020 Fighting Irish football season has been an adventure of legendary proportion. An amazing season filled with intrigue, excitement, exhilaration, and transformation. f the lights were bright this year, the lights just got brighter!
Ian Book's Preparation
One of young men preparing for the bright lights is none other than Irish starting quarterback Ian Book. His growth, maturity, and confidence have been an ongoing process from the beginning of the season until the final regular season game and has put his team in a position to compete for a national championship. The regular season has prepared him for the spotlight on January 1st.
For Book, bowl preparation was a time to refine and sharpen what he has been doing all year. At this point, Brian Kelly’s team isn't going to change their identity and neither is Book. Will be get the team that beat Clemson in November? Or the one that was demolished by Clemson? There might be minor tweaks and adjustments based on what Alabama does defensively, but overall, Book should feel comfortable with the game plan and with what to expect from Alabama. Throughout the year, when Book has been comfortable mentally, he has played his best football. His mental prep for this game should not deviate from what he has done up to this point. Playing against great defenses like Clemons and practicing against the Irish defense should mitigate anxiety to prepare for the Crimson Tide defense.
Out of those shadows, the 2020 Fighting Irish emerged.
For years, Irish fans young and old have been praying at the Basilica and lighting candles at the Grotto with aspirations of championships. With each agonizing championship-less season, faith was replaced with shadows of doubt. Out of those shadows, the 2020 Fighting Irish emerged. From the outside looking in, it would have been very difficult to have predicted an undefeated regualar season, but behind the closed doors of the "Gug" a winning environment, paralleled to those of Rockne, Leahy, Parseghian, and Holtz, sparked a quiet confidence in a group of young student-athletes. Their mission: Do the impossible.
The Alabama Crimson Tide finished the regular season as the unanimous No. 1 team in the country after a dominant 11-0 campaign. The Crimson Tide will look to keep things rolling when they face the No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Rose Bowl on Friday night in Arlington.
Here is what you need to know:
Rose Bowl CFP Semifinal: Notre Dame VS Alabama
- Date/Time: January 1, 4 p.m. ET
- Stadium: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
- TV Coverage: ESPN
Notre Dame News & Notes
The Fighting Irish had a 16-0 SU and 10-6 ATS winning streak snapped in the ACC championship game against the Clemson Tigers when they lost handily by a final score of 34-10. Despite the ugly loss, the College Football Playoff selection committee determined that Notre Dame was still worthy of a playoff spot over the 8-1 Texas A&M Aggies.
So Notre Dame is now tasked with bouncing back from its worst game of the season against the best team in the nation on Friday. Kyren Williams was held to just 3.3 yards per carry in the loss after averaging 5.4 yards per carry over the Fighting Irish’s 10-0 SU and 5-5 ATS start to the season. Establishing the running game and keeping Alabama’s potent offense off the field is probably Notre Dame’s best shot at keeping an upset within reach.
Alabama News & Notes
Alabama’s defense had a rare off-day against the Florida Gators in the SEC championship game. The Crimson Tide gave up 46 points to the Gators, more than they had surrendered in their previous five games combined.
But the outcome of the game was never really in doubt: Mac Jones went 33-for-43 with 418 passing yards and five passing touchdowns, Najee Harris rushed for 178 yards and scored five touchdowns, and DeVonta Smith caught 15 passes for 184 yards and two majors.
The No. 1 team in the nation finished the regular season averaging 543.9 total yards and 49.7 points per game. Alabama’s elite talent on both sides of the ball leaves plenty of room for error, which is shown in the team’s staggering average margin of victory of 30.2 points.
Notre Dame is going to need some serious help from Alabama to win this game. Expect some points to be score in this contest. Enjoy the game!