ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Notre Dame has lost another playoff semifinal in Texas, falling 31-14 to No. 1 Alabama in the relocated Rose Bowl. It was a better showing for the Irish than their blowout loss to Clemson in the semifinals two years ago. But the fourth-ranked Irish still lost in a playoff or New Year's Six bowl for the seventh straight time since 2000. Notre Dame was a three-touchdown underdog and fell behind quickly 14-0. But the defense improved, and Ian Book had the Irish moving with a chance to get within a touchdown in the second half before throwing an interception.
Alabama is rolling into another College Football Playoff championship game. DeVonta Smith caught three of fellow Heisman Trophy finalist Mac Jones’ four touchdown passes, Najee Harris ran for 125 yards with a high-hurdling highlight and top-ranked Alabama beat No. 4 Notre Dame. Alabama will play in its fifth CFP title game in six seasons on Jan. 11 in Miami.
The Crimson Tide will play Ohio State, which beat Clemson 49-28 in the other CFP semifinal last night at the Sugar Bowl. The Buckeyes will return to the title game for the first time since they beat Oregon in the first year of the CFP at the end of the 2014 season. Both teams are undefeated, although Alabama has played 12 games while the Buckeyes were limited to seven.