Notre Dame Football: Breaking Down Who Irish Would Rather Play in Title Game

Tim KeeneyContributor INovember 29, 2012

Manti Te'o has two choices. Kind of.
Manti Te'o has two choices. Kind of.Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are No. 1 and headed to Miami to play in the BCS National Championship.

That much we know.

What we don't know is who will be lining up across from Brian Kelly's squad on January 7, although we've at least narrowed it down to two options, as Saturday's SEC championship is essentially a BCS title play-in game.

So, Alabama or Georgia. Who should Notre Dame fans be rooting for?


Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama fell victim to Johnny Football and Texas A&M a few weeks ago, but the No. 2 team in the nation is still the most feared out there.

Over the past four seasons, the Tide are an unbelievable 47-5. They won a national championship in 2009. And then again in 2011. They've produced somewhere in the range of about 734 NFL prospects over that span. They are smart and physical on offense and suffocating on defense.

Essentially, they are what Notre Dame has strived—and accomplished—to be this season. Just at a higher level. 

The stats back that up.

Nick Saban's squad is giving up a minuscule 9.3 points per game this season, which puts it as the only team ahead of Notre Dame in that category. It's given up 233.7 total yards per game, also first in the nation. It's first in rushing yards per attempt allowed, second in rushing yards per game allowed and third in passing yards per game allowed.

There are no weaknesses.

On offense, they are insanely efficient.

A.J. McCarron is gaining 9.46 yards per attempt through the air, which is second in the SEC. He also has 25 touchdowns to just two interceptions.

The running game, fueled by basically an NFL offensive line, has pretty much been unstoppable. Eddie Lacy is averaging 6.1 yards per attempt and freshman T.J. Yeldon is averaging  6.6.

Again, I'll repeat: There are no weaknesses. 


Georgia Bulldogs

By habit, you probably just equate every SEC team with defense and a solid running game.

Not Georgia. 

The Bulldogs' 17th-ranked offense in terms of points per game starts with Aaron Murray, who has quietly established himself as the top-rated passer in the nation. 

Murray has completed 66.6 percent of his throws for a ridiculous 10.0 yards per attempt, 30 touchdowns and just seven interceptions while the dynamic running duo of Todd Gurley (6.5 yards per attempt) and Keith Marshall (6.7) has kept the pressure off him. 

On defense, the Bulldogs aren't perfect. 

They've looked impressive over their past five (8.6 points allowed per game), but they showed susceptibility against South Carolina (35 points allowed) and Tennessee (44). 

Still though, watch Jarvis Jones (19.5 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, six forced fumbles) agonize opposing offensive lines, and then tell me this defense isn't dangerous. 



Pick your poison, Notre Dame fans. Alabama and Georgia both beat teams in a number of different ways and there's a reason they are No. 2 and 3 in the nation.

However, if the Irish are going to beat one of the top SEC teams in the nation, they are going to have to score the ball, as they've proven they can shut down any offense out there.

They would have a slightly better chance of doing that against Georgia.

So, go Bulldogs. For now.