Notre Dame Football: Why Irish Won't Be Able to Beat the SEC's Best

Jake MartinCorrespondent IIINovember 18, 2012

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 17: George Atkinson II #4 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish moves against Kevin Johnson #9 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Notre Dame Stadium on November 17, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Wake Forest 38-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Notre Dame undoubtedly deserves to be the No. 1 team in the nation, but don't think for a second that the Irish have the best team in the nation.

To try and discredit what Notre Dame has done this year would be in poor taste. Notre Dame made a schedule that at first glance looked to be impossible to conquer, and then they ran the table. Never mind the fact that some of those teams, such as Michigan and Michigan State, turned out to be flops. 

The Irish set the bar high, and they came through with an unblemished season. Notre Dame is due respect for that, but questioning if they can take on SEC's best team is a completely different story. 

The reason for Notre Dame's success this season is that it's built like an SEC team. It has a strong defense and a strong running game, which are two potent recipes in developing a championship-caliber team. But its defense and rushing game are not superior to Alabama's.

If Alabama and Notre Dame win out and meet in the national championship, who do you think would be favored in that game? Those who are knowledgeable will say the oddsmakers will favor Alabama. Actually, John Kincade tweeted that oddsmaker RJ Bell said Alabama would be favored over any team. 

Well, there's a reason for that.

It starts at the top with coaching. Alabama has the best in the business with Nick Saban, who knows a thing or two about playing in the national championship. Out of three national championship appearances, Saban has won all three as head coach. Not bad, eh?

He's won those games because he knows how to prepare his team, especially when he's given ample amount of time to do so. Just ask LSU and Les Miles how good he is.

And with Everett Golson having a somewhat similar game to Denard Robinson, expect Saban to cook up a similar game plan in defending him.

How did Denard Robinson do against Alabama earlier this season? Well, he finished the game with 27 rushing yards on 10 attempts and 200 yards passing with one touchdown and two interceptions. In other words, not very well.  

Seeing as though Alabama and Notre Dame both pose great defenses, the offensive side of the ball could be the difference maker. Advantage Alabama.

Using Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon, Alabama should be able to soften Notre Dame's defense with his immensely powerful offensive line. That should set up the play-action pass, where AJ McCarron has been very effective this season. 

And for those questioning whether which offense is more potent this season, just look at the stats. The passing yards and rushing yards are somewhat similar, but Alabama unquestionably puts more points on the board. 

Alabama averages 38 points per game, 219 passing yards and 209 rushing, while Notre Dame averages 27 points per game, 219 passing yards and 200 rushing. 

And the final factor determining Notre Dame's chances against Alabama is experience. This Alabama team is coming off of a national championship, and the Crimson Tide's quarterback knows how to win.

After all, McCarron has a record of 22-2 in his collegiate career. Yeah, that's playing in the SEC too.

Should Notre Dame meet Alabama in the national championship game, the Irish will serve as the underdog. Notre Dame will be in over its head, and that's what will make this potential matchup so much fun.

The Irish are great, but they're not the team to end the SEC's national title reign.


Note: All stats obtained from ESPN unless otherwise noted.