The BCS National Championship Game matchup is now finalized, with Notre Dame and Alabama set to square off in Miami for the Coaches’ Trophy to close out the season. Brian Kelly is leading the Notre Dame Fighting Irish into a national title game for the first time in decades.
Alabama is returning to the national title game for the second season in a row and the third time in four years after defeating Georgia by a 32-28 score in the SEC title game Saturday night. Nick Saban has his team reaching heights rarely achieved by any team in college football history, but Brian Kelly shouldn't be getting nervous about facing the game's top coach.
Saban is usually a commanding presence on and off the football field, but this season he has been favorable to petty complaints, making him look less confident of his team and the ability for the Crimson Tide to win out.
Just days ago Saban was asked on the SEC coaches’ teleconference about the scenario that was unfolding that would allow a Florida team that has escaped the SEC title game to make it into the BCS. He said that “It doesn’t seem quite right, but it is what it is. I don’t really know what me commenting about it is going to do to change it. But I don’t feel good about it.”
Clearly Saban was lobbying for his team to stay in the BCS discussion even if they lost to Georgia in the title game. It wasn’t a statement that you would expect from the usually overconfident Nick Saban.
Those comments also come after a statement he made earlier this season claiming that spread, no-huddle offenses were bad for the college game and created additional injuries for players.
Saban has made more than just questionable statements this season; he has also made questionable coaching decisions.
In a surprising and uncharacteristic move against Georgia in the SEC title game Saturday, Alabama attempted and successfully converted a two-point conversion, and the Tide attempted a fake punt in the first half too.
The Alabama offense also ran elements of the same hurry-up, no-huddle spread attack that Saban stated created injuries and was where college football offenses should be headed.
Somebody must have told Saban that the no-huddle worked wonders against his own defense.
Should Brian Kelly fear Nick Saban?
As Brian Kelly prepares for this coming national title game, he will look across the field and see a coach that is finally showing human elements to a once machine-like presence. Saban now looks beatable.
Texas A&M came into Alabama’s home field and throttled them in the first half. Georgia and LSU both had success challenging the Alabama safeties on deep routes, and they were able to churn up a lot of yards on the ground.
Notre Dame has a clear picture of what it takes to beat this Alabama team. Brian Kelly will be confident heading into Miami in January as his team takes the field against the Crimson Tide in the BCS title game.
Notre Dame has been able to find consistent success on the ground all year and is finally seeing its vertical passing game come together as Everett Golson settles into his starting quarterback role.
The coming weeks will build the intensity of this coming game, as it will bring two historic programs to the front of the college football world once again. As the dust settles before kickoff, the Brian Kelly swagger will become apparent.
Kelly will have his team ready for this challenge. The blueprint to victory has been laid—this team simply has to pick it up and execute the plan.