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Texas A&M left out of College Football Playoff, playing Orange Bowl Jan. 2

Texas A&M
Posted at 11:54 AM, Dec 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-20 15:05:49-05

Notre Dame was picked Sunday over Texas A&M for the final College Football Playoff spot and will face No. 1 Alabama in the semifinals while Clemson and Ohio State were paired in the CFP for the third time.

It was announced Sunday Texas A&M will play North Carolina in the Orange Bowl January 2 in Miami Gardens, FL.

The Orange Bowl is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 2 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. The game will air on ESPN.

The Fighting Irish and Crimson Tide will meet Jan. 1 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, after a late pandemic-related relocation from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The Tigers and Buckeyes are set to play the same day at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans — if all goes according to plan.

The national champion of this college football season played through a pandemic is scheduled to be determined Jan. 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

The Fighting Irish (10-1) are back in the playoff for the second time in three seasons, becoming the first team to lose a conference title game and make the selection committee’s final four. The ACC is the second conference to have two teams in the playoff, joining the SEC in 2017, thanks to the famously independent Fighting Irish joining the league in football for a year because of the pandemic.

After sitting second in the CFP rankings for a month, Notre Dame was blown out 34-10 by Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game. That opened the door for Texas A&M (8-1), which had been lurking in fifth.

The Aggies (8-1) closed their regular-season Saturday by cruising to a win over Tennessee, but were unable to become the third team in the playoff’s seven-year history to make the field without even winning its division.

Notre Dame’s reward will be a matchup with Alabama (11-0). The last time the Fighting Irish and Crimson Tide played was the 2012 BCS championship game and the Tide won 42-14.

College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock has said a team selected to a semifinal would not be replaced if it could not play on the scheduled date. The game would be postponed if necessary and a every effort would be made to make it up.

The final drama of this season will not only be in the crowning of a champion but simply getting to the games.