It might not seem like the most exciting explanation of how the BCS National Championship Game will be won, but if Alabama is to top Notre Dame in this game, it will have to do it by winning the battle in the trenches.
The Crimson Tide and Fighting Irish will be bringing great defense with them to Miami in January. Alabama's defense finished as the No. 2 squad in the nation, trailing only Notre Dame, who finished with the No. 1 defense in the country.
Offense isn't likely to be a theme in this game, but it's on offense where Alabama has the biggest advantage. The Crimson Tide offense, led by quarterback AJ McCarron, ranked No. 15 in the country this season.
Most notably, coach Nick Saban's squad can flat-out run the ball as proven by its No. 20 ranking. Alabama's two running backs, Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon, both gained over 1,000 yards on the ground this season.
If Alabama is going to move the ball down the field with success, the rushing attack must be the catalyst.
The only way to do that is to have superior blocking from Alabama's offensive line. The most interesting matchup in this game will be Notre Dame's front seven against the Crimson Tide's talented and experienced O-line.
If Alabama can win the battle up front, not only will it create space for the Crimson Tide's running game to go to work, but it will also buy time for McCarron to make some plays through the air. But beware, Manti Te'o will be lurking at every corner, so 'Bama must make it a priority to keep him away from the ball.
Te'o is also a talented defender in regards to intercepting passes. McCarron would be wise not to throw the ball his way too often otherwise it could result in a turnover or two.
Defensively, Alabama can easily neutralize Notre Dame's offense if it can bring the pressure on the Irish's offensive line. Notre Dame's offense was ranked No. 76 in the country this season, so clearly this team isn't going to blow out anyone.
Notre Dame's quarterback, Everett Golson, is inexperienced to say the least. The sophomore quarterback will be playing in the biggest game of his life, so naturally the nerves of a big game could get the best of him.
Alabama can help that out by putting pressure on the young signal-caller. If the Crimson Tide can get into the backfield on a down-to-down basis, they will no doubt force Golson into turnovers and that could lead to great field position and ultimately, easy points.
That same aggressive approach will also no doubt stifle any rushing attack the Irish attempt.
With two great defenses squaring off in this national title game, the most important battle to watch will be at the line of scrimmage. If Alabama can win the battle in the trenches, the Crimson Tide will be the national champion once again.