The Fighting Irish (12-0), No. 3 in the CFP rankings, practiced for two hours at AT&T Stadium in preparation for the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the 83rd Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
It was a festive start. Instead of the usual pre-practice music jam, the team warmed up to Mariah Carey’s All I want for Christmas is You and other energetic holiday tunes.
“Today was a good day,” Irish Head Coach Brian Kelly said. “We got in yesterday to get the kinks out and get used to the environment, so today was a lot more like a normal Tuesday for us. It felt like more of a routine day. For us as coaches, we like routines.”
Besides preparing for No. 2 Clemson (13-0, 9-0 ACC), Notre Dame’s team and families celebrated Mass and came together for a Christmas party and dinner.
“The Cotton Bowl does such a great job of hosting families and making them feel part of this experience,” Kelly said. “So the Cotton Bowl and the [team] hotel, all of us being together, it really makes for a special day for us. We can be with our football team and we can be with our families and that doesn’t happen very often.”
On Monday night, former Irish and current NFL players Jaylon Smith and Zack Martin of the Dallas Cowboys and Tyler Eifert of the Cincinnati Bengals joined the team at a comedy show.
The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic celebrates its 83rd anniversary on Saturday, Dec. 29. Live Coverage on ESPN is set for 3 p.m. CST, with kickoff slated for 3:10 p.m.
This marks the fifth consecutive year for the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic to be a part of the ESPN bowl lineup. Sean McDonough and Todd Blackledge are set to provide the call from the booth with Holly Rowe and Tom Rinaldi reporting from the sidelines.
ESPN Radio returns as the Classic’s national radio partner for the seventh consecutive year. Bill Rosinski teams with David Norrie in the booth and Ian Fitzsimmons on the sidelines to describe all the action from AT&T Stadium.