Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o should have won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, but the chances of his team beating Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game in January might have improved after Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel took home the sport's most coveted individual award.
There's no question that Te'o finishing second will motivate him to prove Heisman voters wrong. In a game that should be won by whichever team's defense plays better, Te'o will be center stage in the BCS title game.
Not only does he play a huge role in the Fighting Irish run defense with his great tackling ability, he also defends the pass very well, evidenced by his team-leading seven interceptions this season.
The leadership he displays on the field is also very important to the Notre Dame defense. His teammates feed off the intensity and passion he brings to the field on every play.
For Notre Dame to win this game and finish an unbeaten season with a BCS national championship, Te'o has to help the Fighting Irish defense stop Crimson Tide running backs Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon.
These two running backs help the Alabama offense control the ball and take lots of time off the clock. If Te'o and Notre Dame don't let these players dominate the game, the Fighting Irish will have a strong chance to win.
We have seen the Alabama defense play poorly several times this season to good teams, such as LSU, Texas A&M and Georgia.
Notre Dame's offense should be able to score on the Alabama defense, so it will be up to Te'o and the Fighting Irish defense to win the game.
Winning the line of scrimmage will be one of the top priorities for each team. Whichever defensive line can disrupt the running game and put pressure on the opposing quarterback will win the game.
After failing to win the Heisman, Te'o will be highly motivated to finish his college football career with a national championship.
Winning the Heisman would have been an amazing accomplishment for Te'o, but lifting the crystal football with his Notre Dame teammates would be even better.