Despite blowout losses in Notre Dame's past two marquee games, coach Brian Kelly said on Monday that the Irish don't have anything to prove in Friday's College Football Playoff semifinal against No. 1 Alabama.
Notre Dame last faced Alabama in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game, a 42-14 loss. Two years ago, the Irish lost 30-3 to Clemson in the CFP semis at the Cotton Bowl.
"We're knocking at the door every year, playing really good teams and great opponents, and they're elite football teams," Kelly said. "I don't know why this narrative continues to pop up when we're always in the game. No, we haven't won a national championship. That's correct. And, you know, I'm not changing the record. But we are there every single year and we are grinding it out just like everybody else."
No. 4 Notre Dame is a 20-point underdog to Alabama, one of the biggest underdogs this bowl season. According to ESPN Stats & Information, this will be Notre Dame's seventh appearance in a BCS or New Year's Six bowl game since 1998, when the BCS era began. The Irish are 0-6 in those games, having been outscored by a total of 144 points. None of the six was decided by fewer than 14 points. This year, they have the challenge of facing an Alabama team that was wire to wire as the No. 1 team and has three Heisman Trophy finalists in Mac Jones, DeVonta Smith and Najee Harris.