Fighting Irish fans have to be smiling with the fact that they can end the SEC conference’s title streak and end Alabama’s chances at making BCS history by winning back-to-back championships.
On top of the chance at winning its first national title since 1988 and ending the SEC streak plus ‘Bama’s chance at immortality as one of college football’s best teams ever, the Irish match up better with the Crimson Tide than if they went up against Georgia.
Notre Dame’s defense was one of the best in the country, ranking second in the nation in points allowed per game, giving up only 10.3 points per game. But the Irish were led by a stout rushing defense that allowed only 93.3 yards per game and only two rushing touchdowns on the year.
While the Fighting Irish were able to stop the run, their passing defense was another story.
The Irish weren’t terrible against the pass, but they did give up on average 194.8 yards per game and allowed 117 first downs to their opposition.
When Notre Dame went up against a talented passing game against Oklahoma's, like Georgia would have brought into the BCS title game, the Fighting Irish secondary was ripped for 364 yards.
They didn’t allow any touchdowns, but it showed that if a quarterback is given time, like Georgia’s Aaron Murray could have gotten against Notre Dame, then he could exploit the Irish defense and give Georgia a great chance to win.
Instead, Notre Dame will be going up against Alabama, whose mentality is run first, pass second.
In the SEC Championship Game Alabama ran the ball 51 times to 21 passing attempts while Georgia had 34 passing attempts to only 24 rushes.
If Alabama has this same offensive game plan on Jan. 7, then this will play right into Notre Dame’s strength.
Which team does Notre Dame matchup better against?
Looking at how Notre Dame’s defense played out over its 12-game regular season, then the Irish front seven should be able to contain the talented Alabama running backs, T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy, better than being able to withstand Georgia’s Murray.
Getting either one of the talented SEC Championship Game contenders in the BCS title game wasn’t going to be easy.
However, the Fighting Irish fans and players have to be happy that they can make some history for their university, while ending the long dominance of a conference, with a team looking to become the first team to win back-to-back BCS championships.
And it's against a team that plays into its defensive strengths that carried the team throughout its perfect season.