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Alabama, Clemson, Ohio St., Notre Dame earn football playoff bids

Alabama, Clemson, Ohio St., Notre Dame earn football playoff bids
The Alabama Crimson Tide, led by head coach Nick Saban, will enter the College Football Playoffs as the top seed alongside Clemson, Ohio State and Notre Dame. File Pool Photo by Kent Gidley/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Notre Dame will take part in the College Football Playoffs on Jan. 1, the College Football Playoff Selection Committee announced Sunday.

No.1 Alabama (11-0) will square off against No. 4 Notre Dame (10-1) in Arlington, Texas at 5 p.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 1, followed by a face-off between No. 2 Clemson (10-1) and No. 3 Ohio State (6-0) at 8:45 p.m, ET in New Orleans, La, the committee announced. The games will be televised on ESPN.

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Alabama and Ohio State enter the playoffs after winning their respective conference tournaments, however, prior to defeating Northwestern on Saturday, Ohio State last played on Dec. 5 as the team's season was curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Notre Dame enters the playoffs after losing 34-10 to Clemson in the ACC Championship game on Saturday, while Clemson's lone defeat came from a November game against Notre Dame during wich Clemson's star quarterback Trevor Lawrence was sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19.

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Just outside of the playoff picture were No. 5 Texas A&M (8-1) and No. 6 Oklahoma (8-2).

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The Rose Bowl announced the semifinal match between the Crimson Tide and the Fighting Irish was moved from the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, Calif., to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, due to increasing COVID-19 cases in Southern California and restrictions preventing players' and coaches' families from attending.

"We know that the decision was not an easy one to make," David Eads, CEO and executive director of the Tournament of Roses, said in a statement. "While we remain confident that a game could have been played at the Rose Bowl Stadium, as evident in the other collegiate and professional games taking place in the region, the projection of COVID-19 cases in the region has continued on an upward trend."

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On Friday, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said the team was considering declining to play in the playoffs if families were not permitted.

"I'm not sure we'll play in the playoffs if the parents can't be there," Kelly said. "Why would we play if you can't have families at the game? Yeah, we would opt out. ... What's the sense of playing a game in an area of the country where nobody can be part of it?"

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