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College Football - New year, new champion

Football

The GIST: What better way to ring in the new year than with a College Football Playoff (CFP) New Year’s Day doubleheader? Let’s be real, we had no plans to move from the couch that day anyway.

December 25, 2020
SOURCE: ROSS D. FRANKLIN/AP PHOTO
SOURCE: ROSS D. FRANKLIN/AP PHOTO

First semifinal: the Rose Bowl, 4 p.m. ET: No. 1 Alabama will face No. 4 Notre Dame in front of fans, thanks to a somewhat thorny change in venue from the famous Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, California, to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

  • The undefeated Crimson Tide are heavy favorites in this one, boasting not one, not two, but three (!!!) Heisman trophy candidates in wide receiver (WR) DeVonta Smith, quarterback (QB) Mac Jones and running back (RB) Najee Harris. It’s almost not fair.
  • Meanwhile, the Fighting Irish are coming off an embarrassing loss in the ACC title game. They’ll need QB Ian Book to step up big in his potentially last chance to show out before the NFL Draft.

Second semifinal: the Sugar Bowl, 8 p.m. ET: No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Ohio State will battle in the Sugar Bowl, played each year in New Orleans. These teams know each other well — they squared off in last year’s CFP semifinal, which Clemson won 29–23.

  • Fresh off a dominant win in the ACC Championship, Clemson are the favorites to advance to their fifth championship game in six years. Watch for QB Trevor Lawrence to put on a show in one of his last games with a winning team before the NFL Draft.
  • Ohio State boasts a star QB (and QB1 star) of their own in Justin Fields. They’ll also be fired up after Clemson head coach, Dabo Swinney, snubbed the No. 3 Buckeyes, ranking them 11th in his coaches’ poll ballot. Drama.