BCS Championship 2013: Does Notre Dame Stand a Chance vs. Alabama?
USA TODAY Sports
Get ready, because for the next month, the BCS National Championship Game between Alabama and Notre Dame is going to be sliced, diced and dissected six ways to Sunday.
With these two heavyweights going at it in South Florida, can you blame us?
These two teams are near-mirror images of each other. They feature fast and physical front sevens on defense, talented offensive lines and balanced offenses.
Despite the similarities, Alabama is a nine-point favorite over the Fighting Irish, according to BetOnline.com.
After what we saw in the Georgia Dome on Saturday night, you can see why.
Alabama went toe-to-toe with then-No. 3 Georgia and won a old-fashioned slugfest to claim the SEC title. In the process, head coach Nick Saban's crew racked up 350 rushing yards against Georgia, including 181 and two touchdowns from junior Eddie Lacy.
Actually, it wasn't just a "slugfest." It was two teams standing in front of each other and trading knockout blows for four quarters.
But let's not write down Alabama for its third BCS National Championship in four years in ink, because despite the perception that the SEC is a runaway freight train, Notre Dame is fully capable of toppling the Tide.
If there's a way for this Notre Dame team to slow down the Tide, it's by disrupting the run—which is what Alabama's offense is predicated on.
The Fighting Irish boast the nation's fourth-best rush defense, giving up just 92.42 yards per game on the ground.
I know, I know. The obvious response is that Notre Dame didn't play anybody. That's true, and you're right.
Only two of the teams Notre Dame faced in 2012—Navy and Michigan—finished in the top 40 in rushing offense.
But Notre Dame's defense looked the part of an SEC defense this season. Its front seven—led by linebacker Manti Te'o, is aggressive, creative and fully capable of making the big play when its team needs it the most.
Who will win the BCS National Championship?
In other words, it's an SEC defense.
I think Alabama will be able to handle Notre Dame in the trenches because, after what I saw Saturday night, it seems Alabama can handle any FBS team.
But based on what we've seen this season, there's nothing to suggest that Notre Dame will struggle either.
Don't dismiss the Fighting Irish; embrace this game for what it will be.
Another slugfest between two similarly built teams who have both used stellar defenses to find their way to the BCS National Championship Game.
Just the way Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban wants it.
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