College Football Playoff Preview – #4 Notre Dame will meet #1 Alabama on January 1st in the 2021 Rose Bowl Game. This is the epitome of a David versus Goliath matchup. The Crimson Tide are heavy favorites on Friday. The Tide will enter AT&T Stadium as a 19.5-point favorite. Notre Dame is a very good team, but Alabama has been unstoppable throughout the 2020 season.

Rose Bowl Game – AT&T Stadium 
January 1, 2021 @ 4:00 PM ET

#4 Notre Dame vs #1 Alabama

  • Moneyline: Notre Dame (+800) Alabama (-1400)
  • Point Spread: Notre Dame (+19.5) Alabama (-19.5)
  • Over/Under: 65.5 Points

College Football Playoff Preview – Will the Luck of the Irish be on the Notre Dame Sideline?

Notre Dame has had a tremendous year thus far. They went undefeated in the regular season and upset the #1 Clemson Tigers in South Bend. However, this victory had an asterisk next to it because Clemson didn’t have QB Trevor Lawrence under center.

Notre Dame and Clemson met once again in the ACC Championship Game. This time Trevor Lawrence was in the lineup and the Irish were defeated by three scores. The committee still believed the Irish deserved a chance at the college football crown, so they were awarded the final spot in the playoffs.

Offensively, Notre Dame rides or dies with quarterback Ian Book. For Notre Dame to upset Alabama, Book has to play the game of his life. The senior has been phenomenal all year and a victory over Alabama to advance to the National Championship would be the perfect way to cap off his tremendous career in South bend. 
Book has been one of the most efficient passers in the country. He has only thrown two interceptions in 2020 while racking up 2,601 yards through the air with 15 touchdown passes. Book will be able to contest a strong Alabama defense because of his ability to fit the ball into very tight windows.

ian book college football playoff preview

College Football Playoff Preview – Will the Tide Ever Stop Rolling this Season?

Alabama hasn’t been beaten all season long. Their toughest game of the year came in the SEC Championship Game against the Florida Gators. Alabama beat Florida 52-46 which was the Tide’s only game that was decided by one score or less. Alabama has beaten every other SEC opponent in 2020 by at least two scores.

The SEC is the best conference in college football, so this margin of victory shows the strength of the Crimson Tide. The Alabama offense has potential first-round draft picks all over the field.

QB Mac Jones, RB Najee Harris, WR DeVonta Smith, and WR Jaylen Waddle will all be drafted on night one or two of the 2021 NFL Draft. This unit has allowed the offense to score an average of 50 points and rack up 544 yards per game. 

Defensively, LB Dylan Moses leads the way for the Crimson Tide. Moses has been stout against the run and pass in 2020. He is one of countless stars on the defensive side of the football that the Irish offense will need to neutralize on Friday afternoon.

College Football Playoff Preview – Notre Dame vs Alabama: The Matchup

This Alabama team is one of the best units that I’ve seen in Tuscaloosa in years. They don’t have many weaknesses so opposing coaches have their hands full while attempting to game plan for the Tide. Alabama is scoring 50 points and giving up less than 20 points per game in the SEC.

Four of their eleven wins have come over Top 25 opponents and they made these teams look like mid-major programs. Alabama is that good. You can’t sugarcoat the talent within their program. Notre Dame is respectable, but they’re not as good as Alabama anywhere on the field.

devonta smith college football playoff preview

The matchup to watch in this game will be the Notre Dame secondary against Alabama’s receiving corps. The Tide love to throw the football and Mac Jones has plenty of weapons on his side. For the Irish to have a chance, they need to shut down Alabama’s receiving threats: DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, and John Metchie III.

I don’t picture this happening, but it is what Notre Dame needs to do in order to keep the Rose Bowl Game close. 

College Football Playoff Preview – Notre Dame vs Alabama: The Picks

Does Notre Dame have a shot to beat Alabama? Yes

Will Notre Dame beat Alabama? No     

I like Alabama at -19.5. As crazy as that sounds for a #1 vs #4 showdown, I think they can cover this number with ease in Dallas on New Year’s Day. Alabama will put up a lot of points. Notre Dame is aggressive on defense, but the Tide’s offense has put up big numbers all season long.

In Alabama’s past five contests, they’re smallest scoring effort has been 42 points. Alabama is 7-4 against the over in 2020. I think they’ll lead the scoring charge and Notre Dame will provide a little support to put the total over 65.5 points.

I’m locking in Alabama at -19.5 and over 65.5 points.


If you enjoyed my College Football Playoff Preview, follow me on IG @tannerkern and Twitter @tannerkern_ for game previews, betting analysis, and the best stories from the sports world. Be sure and keep up with the Sports 2.0 NetworkSports 2.0 Twitter, and Knup Sports for all of my latest content and best takes from around the sports and sports betting world as well!!

Sports 2.0 Discord Community