Alabama’s first round 31-14 playoff game win against Notre Dame was a mixture of the familiar and the strange for this time of year. The Rose Bowl, The Granddaddy of Them All, a game surrounded with such lore and history, played in a different stadium for the first time since WWII. The game was moved from its legendary Pasadena home to Dallas Texas and AT&T Stadium due to California’s strict COVID regulations on sporting events. The restrictions would not allow fans and more importantly, family members, from attending the game. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly played a major role in having the game moved from California. So the legendary Rose Bowl Logo was painted on the 50 in Jerry’s World and I’ll be honest, it was a little odd. Seeing a Rose Bowl played in a mostly empty NFL stadium was a unique sight, one we’ll be able to tell our grandkids about one day.
Despite the different setting, the action of the field look very familiar, especially to fans of the Tide and Irish, meaning Bama was back in the playoffs for the 5th time in 6 years, and Notre Dame was getting blown out in yet another big game. We all know Alabama is good this year, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to see them win big, as has been their M.O. all season. They were able to show off and prove their national number one ranking and further showcase their Heisman caliber stars. Sadly for Notre Dame however, their performance was also predictable, not by their season this year but by how they have (or haven’t shown up) in New Year’s Six and BCS games. It is always amazing to me how the same teams with completely different players, coaches and staff can have the same trends throughout the years. It’s as if the jersey and logo itself carries a power. I guess that is just some of the joys of college sports. Except for Notre Dame, it is not a joy for them. Always and bridesmaid and never a bride.