Sunday evening, the latest BCS polls were revealed, and while there were no major surprises, a statement from oddsmaker Danny Sheridan has started some debate around the college football world.
Per Rece Davis, Sheridan said that No. 2 Alabama would be at least a 10-point favorite if they were to play No. 1 Notre Dame today. That is enough to get some Irish fans off the couch and screaming at the TV, but Sheridan also said that any SEC team in the top 10—there are five—would be favored to beat the No. 1-ranked team in the nation.
Per ESPN, Danny Sheridan says Alabama would be a 10-point favorite over #NotreDame. All SEC teams in top 10 would be favored against ND.
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) November 19, 2012
Per Rece Davis, oddsmaker Danny Sheridan says every SEC team in top 10 would be favorite over #NotreDame in title game.
— Brian Hamilton (@ChiTribHamilton) November 19, 2012
The claim seems outlandish, but Sheridan is a credible source with years of experience. He is not simply some guy who makes claims just to get attention. Sheridan has been a well-respected sports analyst and handicapper and USA Today's resident sports analyst both domestically and internationally for over 25 years, providing the daily odds for all sporting events.
Alabama has had a much more treacherous path through the SEC than Notre Dame's independent schedule. On top of that, the Irish got major scares from Stanford and Pittsburgh and only narrowly won against BYU, Michigan and Purdue.
The Irish also have had inconsistent play from sophomore quarterback Everett Golson. Before Notre Dame's overtime win against Pittsburgh, Golson had not thrown multiple touchdowns in a game. He has since hit his stride and played better, but the Crimson Tide defense would be the best Golson has seen all year.
Alabama has the more consistent offense. The two-headed attack of Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon has been among the best in the nation, and AJ McCarron is having a record season under center. McCarron has 21 touchdowns and just two interceptions so far this season and set the Alabama single-season touchdown record against Western Carolina last week.
Notre Dame, like Alabama, relies heavily on its stout defense. Manti Te'o leads the unit that is currently tied with Alabama as the No. 1 scoring defense in the nation (10.1). The defense is why the Irish will keep the game's margin closer than 10 points. Only one team has scored more than 17 points on Notre Dame this year, and even that game was tied at 20 before three overtime periods.
Alabama may be the best team in the nation, but Notre Dame has the No. 1 ranking for a reason. The team was not simply gifted with it. Alabama being a 10-point favorite seems like a major stretch.