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ARLINGTON, Texas — Alabama is a heavy favorite for Friday's College Football Playoff Semifinal against Notre Dame.

According to, the line is 19.5 points, although DraftKings has Alabama by 20.

In Nick Saban's final meeting with reporters Thursday morning before the top-ranked Crimson Tide meets No. 4 Notre Dame in Arlington, Texas, he said he isn't worried about that line and figures his players shouldn't, either.

"I always tell our players that they really shouldn't listen to what people say externally and really stay focused on what you have to do internally to be able to play your best football," he said during a video conference. "I think this program is built on players being accountable to do their job at a high level and to be accountable to each other.

"And, really, what other people think and say really doesn't have anything to do with the outcome of the game. So we want to stay focused on the things that we have to do to get the proper outcome for our team, but with great respect for the team that we have to play. And know that we're going to have to stay focused one play at a time and do a great job of executing to be able to have success anytime you play against a really good team."

Saban added that his team hasn't had "any problems to this point," regarding COVID-19 testing. The team arrived in Arlington, Texas, on Thursday.

"I always knock on wood when I say that," he said. "So everybody that we expected to be on the trip will be on the trip."

Alabama will meet a Notre Dame team with several Alabama connections. Reserve Notre Dame defensive lineman Howard Cross III is the son of former Tide tight end Howard Cross, a longtime NFL standout with the New York Giants.

Notre Dame's Jay Bramblett, the starting punter the past two seasons, graduated from Hillcrest High in Tuscaloosa. Also, Irish running backs coach Lance Taylor is a former wide receiver at Alabama in 1999-2003 under Mike DuBose and Mike Shula. He was a graduate assistant at Alabama in 2007-08 under Saban.

"Lance Taylor is a great coach, a fine young man," Saban said. "Obviously was a contributor here at Alabama as a player and certainly would have loved to have him be part of our staff. Things just didn't work out the right way at the right time for him or for us. And he's done an outstanding job with the players that he's responsible for at Notre Dame."

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Senior Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.

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