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The Rose Bowl, Notre Dame, and memories of Alabama’s back-to-back title victory in 2013

APR's Pat Duggins
Commemorative poster from Alabama's 2013 title win over Notre Dame

The Crimson Tide continues practice ahead of Friday’s Rose Bowl against Notre Dame. One benefit from moving the game from Pasadena to Texas due to COVID-19 is that more fans and family are being allowed to attend. This game is something of a rematch when Alabama beat the Fighting Irish in 2013. The Tide’s second title in a row was the first back-to-back championships in college football since USC did it in 2003 and 2004. The Trojans were stripped of their 2004 victory, leaving Nebraska as the most recent repeat champion in 1995. Alabama head coach Nick Saban said the Tide plays has changed a little since then.

“We’ve probably changed as the game has changed," Saban said. "[We] play a little different style in the offense. We were a little more run-the-ball play action pass NFL-type offensive probably back in the 2012 days.”

That 2013 championship team included names familiar to fans of the NFL. Alabama veterans of that year are now playing in the pros include A.J. McCarron, T.J. Yeldon, Damian Square, and Amari Cooper. Saban said the style of play for the Crimson Tide may have changed since 2013, but the basic strategy, known as “the process” has not.

“I think the basic fundamental culture hasn’t changed that much in terms of helping the players be more successful in life for having been in the program," Saban said, "whether it’s personal development, academic support, career.”

The Tide will face Notre Dame without veteran center Landon Dickerson, who suffered a knee injury during Alabama’s victory over Florida to take the SEC Championship. The winner of the Tide’s upcoming Rose Bowl game against Notre Dame will face either Clemson or Notre Dame who are playing in the semi-final Sugar Bowl.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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