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Line, matchups and early predictions

NFL Line Matchups

NCAA Football

Line, matchups and early predictions

When the College Football Playoff committee paired No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Notre Dame in the semifinals, it gave the postseason one of the sport’s most traditional matchups in this unprecedented year of COVID-19, opt-outs, cancellations and one-year conference agreements. The Crimson Tide and Fighting Irish will meet Jan. 1 in what was supposed to be the Rose Bowl until it was moved under pressure to AT&T Stadium outside Dallas, yet another one-off moment in a college football season full of them.

More predictable? Alabama as the heavy favorite in the kind of big game where Notre Dame has struggled under head coach Brian Kelly, dating back to the BCS National Championship Game eight years ago when Nick Saban delivered the comeuppance. (The 19.5-point spread as of Monday morning is the largest in Playoff history.) Will this year be any different? Alabama beat writer Aaron Suttles and Notre Dame beat writer Pete Sampson tried to sort through the reasons why it might…

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