WATCH THIS: Eagle lands on Notre Dame fan's arm before Cotton Bowl

WATCH THIS: Eagle lands on Notre Dame fan's arm before Cotton Bowl

"That's Alabama, Clemson, and I felt Georgia was also, that had the athletes and the depth that could compete for the national championship".

Notre Dame more than held its own up front, but the unit didn't dominate the way it needed to.

Etienne ran 176 times for 1,463 yards (8.3 yards per carry) and 21 touchdowns this season.

Some suggested that perhaps this was a sign that the Fighting Irish were the real favorites to win the seminal game and take on the victor of the Alabama-Oklahoma matchup in the national championship game.

Though the sting of defeat is still clearly fresh in Kelly's head, he sent his seniors a honest, uplifting message after leading a team that entered the season as an afterthought to an undefeated regular season. Alabama and Clemson have faced off in the last three playoffs, including splitting two title games.

For the season, Lawrence has completed 239 out of 365 passes for 2933 yards and 27 touchdowns. Despite winning both games, Alabama covered the spread in neither.

The model has factored in that Alabama's prodigious offense starts with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

First up was the Fighting Irish as they took on Clemson's Tigers in the Cotton Bowl, only to suffer a defeat by a margin of 30-3.

Alabama has only faced one elite, well-balanced team this season in Georgia, and it very almost lost.

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