The 2021 Rose Bowl semifinal looks more like a one-sided nonconference game to open the season. No. 1 Alabama is a 20-point favorite over No. 4 Notre Dame entering the game, according to William Hill Sportsbook, which is the largest spread in the history of the College Football Playoff.
A big win for Alabama would be the only normal thing about the Granddaddy being moved to North Texas. It’s going to be weird watching the Rose Bowl in The House That Jerry Built. There will be Miller Lite signs instead of the San Gabriel Mountains. The famous sunset? Maybe if it’s portrayed on that giant AT&T Stadium video board. The Rose Bowl was moved due to COVID-19 issues in Southern California that would not allow fans – even family members and friends – to attend the game. Everybody made sacrifices this season. The CFP is no different.
Star power is not lacking in this Rose Bowl. The game is likely to feature the Heisman Trophy winner. (Alabama has two finalists and three of the top five vote-getters.) It absolutely is featuring the Butkus Award winner (best linebacker) as well as 10 other All-Americans combined on the two teams.
Alabama is expected to coast to its fifth CFP National Championship in seven seasons … but will it? The only way this season is a success for the Tide is if they win it all. Alabama is not only in competition with Notre Dame but with itself as well. The championship standard in the Nick Saban era started with the 2009 bunch. That was Saban’s only undefeated team. This one is headed that way if it can get past this pesky CFP field.