Alabama Football: Most Important Players in Quest for Back-to-Back Titles

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 24:  AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide calls out the Auburn Tigers defense at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 24, 2012 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Alabama is set to take on Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game, but a victory will not necessarily be easy.

In order for the Crimson Tide to come out on top, they need a few players to play even better than they have all year.

These are not the best players on the team. However, these men will be the most important people on the field in the title game. 


A.J. McCarron, Quarterback

Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon will still be the feature part of the offense, but A.J. McCarron has to continue to play as well as he has all year in order to beat Notre Dame.

The Irish have one of the top run defenses in the country, allowing only 92 yards per game on the ground. Things get even tougher close to the goal line, as opponents have only scored two rushing touchdowns against them all year. 

McCarron could be asked to produce a big play if the offense stalls. He did just that with a 45-yard touchdown pass against Georgia with the game on the line. 

In addition, the quarterback needs to make sure he does not turn the ball over. He was the most efficient passer in the country this season, but threw two interceptions in the team's only loss to Texas A&M.

If McCarron struggles with his accuracy, Alabama could be in trouble on offense. 


C.J. Mosley, Linebacker

Manti Te'o gets a lot of recognition for leading the Notre Dame defense, but in many ways C.J. Mosley is just as important to Alabama.

The junior leads the team with 99 tackles this season, which include seven tackles for loss and four sacks. 

Notre Dame has three good running backs that are all capable of breaking off big plays. Mosley needs to be the man who prevents these long runs from happening.

Alabama tackles as well as anyone in the country, and the linebacker has to make sure that this trend continues in the title game. 


Adrian Hubbard, Linebacker

Everett Golson is a very mobile quarterback, but he is also prone to mistakes if he is under pressure.

Adrian Hubbard needs to be the person that puts Golson on the move and makes sure that he does not get comfortable in the pocket.

Hubbard's six sacks this season lead the team, and he has brought down the opposing quarterback in each of the last two games. 

If he can get Golson out of his comfort zone, Notre Dame's offense could slow to a crawl. 


Jeremy Shelley, Kicker

This game will be an intense battle between elite defenses. This means that the final score can be decided by a couple of key plays.

A missed field goal could end up being the deciding factor in this battle.

Jeremy Shelley has made all 11 of his field goal attempts this year while being limited to only short-yardage kicks. He must continue to stay accurate to help his team win.

Last season, he missed a combined three field goals in two games against LSU.

If these big-game issues are not behind him, things could get bad for Alabama against Notre Dame.