Tonight, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame will attempt to prove that their 12-0 record and No. 1 rankings are no fluke against what could be the makings of a dynasty in the second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.
- WHAT: BCS National Championship game
- WHO: Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. tonight
- WHERE: SunLife Stadium in Miami, Fla.
- TELEVISION: ESPN, with Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit on the call. Heather Cox will be on the Notre Dame sideline, and Tom Rinaldi will be on the sideline for Alabama.
The Crimson Tide and the Fighting Irish will face off in the BCS National Championship game, with Notre Dame attempting to win its first title since 1988 and Alabama seeking to win its second straight title and third in four years. With a win, the Crimson Tide would become the first time to win back-to-back BCS titles.
HOW NOTRE DAME CAN WIN:
The key for Notre Dame, both on offense and defense, starts right up the middle.
The Fighting Irish need to be able to establish a running game with Cierre Wood up the gut in order to set up the passing game. Redshirt freshman Everett Golson is at his best with time to throw, particularly to All-America TE Tyler Eifert in the red zone. Plays that Golson makes need to be a bonus for the Notre Dame offense rather than a crutch.
On defense, Louis Nix III and Stephon Tuitt lead a pass rush that is among the best in the country.
The Irish allowed just 92.4 rushing yards per game and two rushing touchdowns on the season. If Notre Dame can stuff the run, get to AJ McCarron, and force him to make quick throws underneath, the Manti Te’o-led LB corp can take care of the rest.
HOW ALABAMA CAN WIN:
The Crimson Tide can win by asserting their physical dominance over Notre Dame.
With Barrett Jones at 100%, the Alabama offensive line is one of the best in college football, paving the way for 1,000 yard rushers in Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon. There could also be a mismatch in the secondary, if McCarron can find dynamic freshman WR Amari Cooper for a big play or two.
Golson certainly can make plays for the ND offense, but he will make a mistake or two each game, at which point the Alabama defense needs to pounce. Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart will have had a month to plan on making Golson’s day a living nightmare, so it will be but to the Crimson Tide to execute that game plan.
OFFENSIVE EDGE: Alabama
DEFENSIVE EDGE: Notre Dame
SPECIAL TEAMS EDGE: Push
COACHING EDGE: Alabama
Prediction: Alabama 20, Notre Dame 16.
Who do you think will win?