BCS Championship Game 2013: Notre Dame vs. Alabama TV Info, Predictions and More

Sanjay Kirpalani@@SanjayKirpalaniNational Recruiting AnalystDecember 2, 2012

BCS Championship Game 2013: Notre Dame vs. Alabama TV Info, Predictions and More

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    With the sport’s biggest prize on the line, Alabama and Notre Dame—perhaps college football’s two most storied programs—will meet in the Discover BCS National Championship Game in Miami on Jan. 7. 

    Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish are one of two FBS schools to finish unbeaten in the regular season, and he will attempt to become the fifth coach in Irish history to win a national title in his third season at the helm, per Mike Lopresti of USA Today.

    Meanwhile, Nick Saban will try to help the Tide capture its third national championship in the last four years—and become the first team to repeat as national champs since Nebraska in 1995.

    So how do the nation’s top two teams measure up at first glance? 

    This preview will get you set with everything you need to know for this season’s national title matchup between the Crimson Tide and the Fighting Irish.  

Gameday Info

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    Where:  Sun Life Stadium, Miami

    When:  Monday, January 7 at 8:30 p.m. EDT

    Watch: ESPN

    Listen:  Sirius Channel 91, XM Channel 91

    Live Stream: ESPN3, WatchESPN

    Betting Line: Alabama -10 according to Wynn Las Vegas sports book via Sporting News

Key Storyline

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    The Crimson Tide will try to extend the SEC’s reign over the rest of the college football universe by claiming the league’s seventh consecutive crystal football. 

    Notre Dame—who has not sniffed the national title discussion in nearly two decades—will try to finish undefeated and capture its first national title since 1988.  

Alabama Depth Chart and Injury Report

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    Offense

    LT – 71 – Cyrus Kouandijo, SO (6’6”, 311)

    63 – Kellen Williams, JR (6’3”, 303)

     

    LG – 65 – Chance Warmack, SR (6’3”, 320)

    78 – Chad Lindsay, SO (6’2”, 290)

     

    C – 75 – Barrett Jones, SR (6’5”, 302)

    70 – Ryan Kelly, FR (6’5”, 288)

     

    RG – 61 – Anthony Steen, JR (6’3”, 303)

    77 – Arie Kouandijo, SO (6’5, 310)

     

    RT – 76 – D.J. Fluker, JR (6’6”, 335)

    79 – Austin Shepherd, SO (6’5”, 312)

     

    TE – 89 – Michael Williams, SR (6’6”, 269)

    84 – Brian Vogler, SO (6’7”, 258)

     

    H – 31 – Kelly Johnson, SR (6’3”, 230)

    82 – Harrison Jones, SO (6’4”, 244)

    21 – Brent Calloway, FR (6’1”, 217)

     

    QB – 10 – AJ McCarron, JR (6’4”, 205)

    12 – Phillip Ely, FR (6’1”, 198) OR

    6 – Blake Sims, SO (6’0”, 182)

     

    RB – 42 – Eddie Lacy, JR (6’0”, 220)

    4 – T.J. Yeldon, FR (6’2”, 216)

    17 – Kenyan Drake, FR (6’1”, 204)

     

    WR (X) – 9 – Amari Cooper, FR (6’1”, 198)

    80 – Marvin Shinn, FR (6’3”, 198)

     

    WR (Z) – 83 – Kevin Norwood, JR (6’2”, 195)

    22 – Christion Jones, SO (5’11, 185)

     

    WR (H) – 22 – Christion Jones, SO (5’11", 185)

    8 – Cyrus Jones, FR (5’10”, 192)

     

    Defense

    DE – 49 – Ed Stinson, JR (6’4”, 282)

    8 – Jeoffrey Pagan, SO (6’4”, 285)

     

    NG – 54 – Jesse Williams, SR (6’4”, 320)

    62 – Brandon Ivory, SO (6’4”, 315)

     

    DE – 92 – Damion Square, SR (6’3”, 286)

    90 – Quinton Dial, SR (6’6”, 304)

     

    Sam OLB – 42 – Adrian Hubbard, SO (6’6”, 248)

    19 – Jonathan Atchison, JR (6’3”, 236)

     

    Mike ILB – 33 – Trey Depriest, SO (6’2”, 245), or 35 – Nico Johnson, SR (6’3”, 245)

    18 – Reggie Ragland, FR (6’2”, 247)

     

    Will ILB – 35 – Nico Johnson, SR (6’3”, 245). or 32 – C.J. Mosley, JR (6’2”, 232)

    11 – Tana Patrick, JR (6’3”, 236)

     

    Jack OLB – 47 – Xzavier Dickson, SO (6’3”, 262)

    30 – Denzel Devall, FR (6’2”, 243)

     

    CB – 28 – Dee Milliner, JR (6’1”, 199)

    10 – John Fulton, JR (6’0”, 187)

     

    CB – 13 – Deion Belue, JR (5’11”, 179)

    24 – Geno Smith, FR (6’0”, 182)

     

    SS – 37 – Robert Lester, SR (6’2”, 210)

    3 – Vinnie Sunseri, SO (6’0”, 215)

     

    FS –6 – HaHa Clinton-Dix, SO (6’1”, 209) OR 27 – Nick Perry, JR (6’1”, 208)

    26 – Landon Collins, FR (6’0”, 202)

     

    Special Teams

    PK – 5 – Jeremy Shelley, SR (5’10”, 165), or 43 – Cade Foster, JR (6’1", 218)

     

    KO – 43 – Cade Foster, JR (6’1”, 218)

     

    HOLD – 10 – AJ McCarron, JR (6’4”, 210)

    3 – Vinnie Sunseri, SO (6’0”, 215)

     

    P – 29 – Cody Mandell, JR (6’4”, 202)

    5 – Jeremy Shelley, SR (5’10”, 165)

     

    SN – 51 – Carson Tinker, SR (6’1”, 220)

    31 – Kelly Johnson, SR (6’3”, 230)

     

    PR – 22 – Christion Jones, SO (5’11”, 185)

    8 – Cyrus Jones, FR (5’10”, 192)

     

    KR – 22 – Christion Jones, SO (5’11”, 185)

    28 – Dee Milliner, JR (6’1”, 199)

    8 – Cyrus Jones, FR (5’10”, 192)

    83 – Kevin Norwood, JR (6’2”, 195)

     

    * Injury Report Per USA Today 

    DT Jesse Williams (knee), day-to-day

    CB John Fulton (toe), day-to-day

    WR Chris Black (shoulder), day-to-day

    WR Kenny Bell (leg), out for season

    WR DeAndrew White (knee), out for season

    RB Dee Hart (knee), out for season

    RB Jalston Fowler (knee), out for season

    DB Jarrick Williams (knee), out for season

Notre Dame Depth Chart and Injury Report

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    Offense

    WR – 7 – TJ Jones, JR (5’11”, 190)

    2 – Chris Brown, FR (6’2”, 172)

     

    WR – 9 – Robby Toma, SR (5’9”, 185)

    19 – Davonte’ Neal, FR (5’9”, 171)

     

    LT – 70 – Zack Martin, SR (6’4”, 304)

    78 – Ronnie Stanley, FR (6’6”, 304)

     

    LG – 66 – Chris Watt, SR (6’3”, 310)

    65 – Conor Hanratty, SO (6’5”, 305)

     

    C – 52 – Braxston Cave, SR (6’3”, 304)

    57 – Mike Golic Jr., SR (6’3”, 295)

     

    RG – 57 – Mike Golic Jr., SR (6’3”, 295)

    51 – Bruce Heggie, JR (6’5”, 285)

     

    RT – 74 – Christian Lombard, JR (6’5”, 309)

    72 – Nick Martin, SO (6’4”,290)

     

    TE – 80 – Tyler Eifert, SR (6’6”, 251)

    18 – Ben Koyack, SO (6’5”, 253)

    85 – Troy Niklas, SO (6’7", 260)

     

    WR – 81 – John Goodman, SR (6’3”, 215)

    87 – Daniel Smith, JR (6’4”, 215)

     

    QB – 5 – Everett Golson, SO (6’0”, 185)

    12 – Andrew Hendrix, JR (6’2”, 220) OR

    11 – Tommy Rees, JR (6’2”, 210)

     

    RB – 6 – Theo Riddick, SR (5’11”, 200) OR

    4 – George Atkinson III, SO (6’1”, 210) OR

    20 – Cierre Wood, SR (6’0”, 215)

     

    Defense

    DE – 89 – Kapron Lewis-Moore, SR (6’4”, 306)

    91 – Sheldon Day, FR (6’2”, 286)

     

    NG – 9 – Louis Nix III, JR (6’3”, 326)

    96 – Kona Schwenke, JR (6’4”, 290)

    69 – Tony Springmann, SO (6’6”, 300)

     

    DE – 7 – Stephon Tuitt, SO (6’6”, 303)

    69 – Tony Springmann, SO (6’6”, 300)

     

    OLB – 55 – Prince Shembo, JR (6’2”, 250)

    11 – Ishaq Williams, SO (6’5”, 255)

    56 – Anthony Rabasa, SO (6’3”, 240)

     

    ILB – 48 – Dan Fox, SR (6’3”, 240)

    44 – Carlo Calabrese, SR (6’1”, 245)

     

    ILB – 5 – Manti Te’o, SR (6’2”, 255)

    59 – Jarrett Grace, SO (6’3”, 240)

    8 – Kendall Moore, JR (6’1”, 242)

     

    OLB – 13 – Danny Spond, JR (6’2”, 248)

    30 – Ben Councell, SO (6’5”, 240)

    45 – Romeo Okwara, FR (6’4”, 239)

     

    CB – 6 – KeiVarae Russell, FR (5’11”, 182)

    43 – Josh Atkinson, SO (5’11”, 185)

     

    S – 17 – Zeke Motta, SR (6’2”, 215)

    29 – Nicky Baratti, FR (6’1”, 206)

     

    S –41 – Matthias Farley, SO (6’1”, 200)

    24 – Chris Salvi, SR (5’10”, 190)

     

    CB – 2 – Bennett Jackson, JR (6’0”, 185)

    21 – Jalen Brown, SO (6’1”, 199)

     

    Special Teams

    PK – 27 – Kyle Brindza, SO (6’1”, 225)

    40 – Nick Tausch, SR (6’0”, 201)

     

    P – 35 – Ben Turk, SR (5’11”, 186)

    27 – Kyle Brindza, SO (6’1”, 225)

     

    LS – 60 – Jordan Cowart, SR (6’2”, 230)

    61 – Scott Daly, FR (6’2”, 245)

     

    SS – 60 – Jordan Cowart, SR (6’2”, 230)

    61 – Scott Daly, FR (6’2”, 245)

     

    HLD – 35 – Ben Turk, SR (5’11”, 186)

    14 – Luke Massa, JR (6’4”, 225)

     

    PR – 19 – Davonte’ Neal, FR (5’9”, 171)

    81 – John Goodman, SR (6’3”, 215)

    6 – Theo Riddick, SR (5’11”, 200)

     

    KR – 4 – George Atkinson III, SO (6’1”, 210)

    6 – Theo Riddick, SR (5’11”, 200)

    33 – Cam McDaniel, SO (5’10”, 195)

     

    KO – 27 – Kyle Brindza, SO (6’1”, 225)

     

    *Injury Report Per USA Today 

    NT Kona Schwenke (shoulder), questionable

    T Tate Nichols (knee), questionable

    C Matt Hegarty (undisclosed), questionable

    WR DaVaris Daniels (shoulder), questionable

    S Jamoris Slaughter (Achilles), out for season

    CB Lo Wood (Achilles), out for season

    TE Alex Welch (knee), out for season

    S Austin Collinsworth (shoulder), out for season

Alabama Player to Watch

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    Last year’s national title game was all about the growth of Tide quarterback AJ McCarron. 

    While he is no longer viewed as just a game manager, Alabama will need a similar performance to the one in which McCarron dissected LSU’s vaunted defense in New Orleans 11 months ago if it hopes to achieve a similar result.  

    With Notre Dame’s abundance of talent on the defensive line, McCarron’s ability to make plays by eluding pressure will be a big factor if the Tide’s offense is able to achieve the balance Saban desires on that side of the ball.  

Notre Dame Player to Watch

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    All-American linebacker Manti Te’o is the team’s unquestioned leader and the Irish’s biggest difference maker.

    The senior has repeatedly shown himself to be a player that relishes making impact plays in big games, and no defender in college football embodies the spirit of his team like Te’o does with the Irish.   

    With Alabama possessing one of the nation’s best offensive lines, plus a top-flight running back duo in Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon, the main focus for Te’o will be to remain stout against the Tide’s punishing ground game. 

    His ability to drop into coverage is an underrated aspect of his game, and the Irish will need a huge effort from their leader if they hope to capture their first national title in a quarter century.  

Key Matchups

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    Notre Dame’s offense is built around a multi-purpose threat in quarterback Everett Golson and the running back tandem of Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood. 

    However, their biggest threat in the passing game is tight end Tyler Eifert—who leads the Irish in receptions, yards and touchdowns this season. 

    Alabama’s answer for Eifert will likely come in the form of linebacker C.J. Mosley—who was recently named one of five finalists for the Butkus Award. 

    Mosley is one of the nation’s top linebackers in coverage, but he will have his hands full dealing with the 6’6”, 251-pound Eifert.

    On the flipside, the biggest battle in the trenches will feature Alabama center Barrett Jones squaring off against Notre Dame nose guard Louis Nix III. 

    Whoever emerges to get the best of that battle will go a long way towards determining which team controls the line of scrimmage.  

Alabama Will Win If ...

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    The Tide will win if they can force Notre Dame’s offense to become one-dimensional and make Golson try to beat them through the air. 

    Saban and his defense have struggled in the past against mobile quarterbacks.

    Containing Golson and not allowing him to make plays when breaking the pocket is another key on that side of the ball. 

    When Alabama’s offense had issues earlier in the season against LSU and Texas A&M, their main struggles came because of their inability to convert on third downs.

    Winning on first down and establishing the ground game against a rugged defense would help settle the offense and put them in a position to wear down the Irish over four quarters—similar to how they were able to defeat Georgia in the SEC title game.    

Notre Dame Will Win If ...

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    The Irish will win if they can control the action in the trenches by establishing the run on offense and limiting Lacy and Yeldon on defense.  

    In particular, the defensive line has to assert itself as the most dominant unit on the field by stuffing the run and pressuring McCarron into mistakes that he normally does not make.

    Alabama’s depth at wideout is thin entering this game, so the Irish have to make another pass-catcher other than Tide freshman sensation Amari Cooper step up and beat them.  

    On offense, Golson has to be able to make plays when escaping the pocket either with his legs or his arm.  

    Kelly and his offense also must get Eifert involved by using him to stretch the field and hurt the Tide vertically in the passing game.  

Prediction

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    These two teams are similar in many ways.

    The defenses are strong at the point of attack, but both teams have appeared shaky in the secondary at times. 

    The offenses thrive by remaining balanced and controlling the clock with their bruising ground games. 

    Both head coaches are proven winners that have authored miraculous turnarounds at two of the nation’s premier programs. 

    Additionally, both teams are loaded with players that will be playing football on Sundays soon—especially on defense. 

    I think this game will be a slugfest between two elite teams, but in the end, I think Alabama’s experience—and the belief that their offense is a step ahead of the Notre Dame’s attack—helps the Tide prevail in the end. 

    Predicition:  Alabama 23, Notre Dame 17