Notre Dame Football fans and local businesses react to College Football Playoff Bid
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.- The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are going to the College Football Playoff. The College Football Playoff Selection Committee announced Sunday that Notre Dame had earned a bid to the tournament for the College Football National Title. As the number four seed, the Irish will play top ranked Alabama on New Year's Day in a rematch of the 2013 BCS National Championship. Sunday's announcement both excited and worried fans and businesses alike.
"I'm proud of them," said Robert Peters who has been a Notre Dame Football season ticket holder for more than 50 years. "For these kids to end up basically isolating themselves so that they wouldn't get the virus so that they could even play. At any moment you could have had half the team disqualified."
Peters and his wife Bonnie were both at the 2013 BCS National Championship which Alabama won 42 to 14. Bonnie said she believes this matchup will be different.
"We've got such a good rapport," Bonnie said. "The team altogether is so cohesive that I think we can do it."
Local bars and restaurants said they are preparing for another day of higher than normal business.
"I think we've done pretty well in terms of handling the pandemic at Barnaby's," said Ashton Lane, whose father owns Barnaby's Mishawaka. "We social distance at tables and such and have pretty good delivery and carryout. So, there is a little bit of panic which is natural, but I think we'll be able to handle that just fine."
Lane said Barnaby's will be giving extended breaks to employees who work both New Year's Eve and New Year's Day because of the expected crowds both days. He also said the restaurant will be putting a bigger emphasis on social distancing measures. Lane felt Barnaby's was able to get a trial run on how to handle large groups of fans coming in with Notre Dame's game against Clemson in the ACC Championship on Saturday.
"It's a big benefit considering we didn't expect that big of a crowd and to expect more," Lane said. "I'm happy that we were able to get through that weekend game against Clemson. It gives us experience to try to handle that situation better when they play Alabama."
As bars and restaurants get ready for groups of fans, Bonnie and Robert Peters said they have no plans to go to a bar or restaurant for the game.
"We'll be watching it at home alone and be ready to root for our team," Bonnie said.
Kickoff for the Notre Dame's College Football Playoff Semifinal against Alabama is set for four in the afternoon on New Year's Day.