The Alabama Crimson Tide presumably stamped their ticket to the BCS National Championship game against Notre Dame with a victory over the Georgia Bulldogs, but it wasn't as easy as many expected.
The Bulldogs showed from the beginning they weren't content with simply making it to the SEC Championship game, they came to earn their own berth in the title game. The Tide were just a little bit better as they found a way to edge out their SEC counterparts.
There's no denying it was a great performance by Alabama. It showed off its trademark physicality on offense—350 yards against Georgia's usually staunch defense is a championship-worthy accomplishment.
However, Alabama certainly looked human as the Bulldogs were able to match the Tide throughout the game and had the final result in question to the very last second.
Heading into the BCS title game against Notre Dame, there's sure to be a lot of talk about the SEC's dominance in national title games. That's warranted. The SEC's streak of national titles speaks for itself and the conference has earned its reputation.
But counting Notre Dame out against the Tide is a mistake.
Georgia and Alabama put on a great game from start to finish and fans should expect the same when they sit down to watch the Irish and Tide duke it out to claim national supremacy.
While Georgia is good, the Irish actually match up better defensively than the Bulldogs did. When the Bulldogs look at why they aren't in the championship game, it came down to run defense. In general, if you give up over 300 yards on the ground, you're getting blown out.
The Bulldogs did just that and came within four points of upsetting the Tide.
It would be shocking if Notre Dame suffers a similar fate against the Tide's rushing attack—stopping the run is Notre Dame's forte. Manti Te'o and Co. are holding opponents to 92 yards per game and have only surrendered two touchdowns on the ground all season.
Georgia came into the game ranked 40th nationally against the run, giving up 163 yards per game on the ground with 13 touchdowns surrendered. Gouging the Irish will be a bit more difficult.
Offensively, the Bulldogs had success through a ground-based attack and a solid outing from quarterback Aaron Murray.
The Irish should be able to use that blue print to find success against the Alabama defense. Notre Dame boasts a strong stable of running backs themselves with Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood showing all season that they are able to carry the offense.
Everett Golson is no Aaron Murray, but the Bulldogs were able to score 28 points against the Tide with a so-so performance from Murray. He went 18-of-33 for 265 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Golson doesn't have the same impressive resume and experience of Murray, but has shown a penchant for showing up to big games like USC and Oklahoma this season.
The Tide are sure to be favored in the National Title game, but they were favored in the SEC Championship game too. Expect another exciting fight to the finish that could have fans feeling a strong sense of deja vu.