The BCS Championship game pits defending champion Alabama against resurgent powerhouse Notre Dame. Played on January 7th, two of college football titans will meet on the field of Sun Life Stadium in Miami for one of the most anticipated title matchups of the BCS era.
Let's take a look at key elements in the game and how they will effect the outcome of the title game.
Alabama's redshirt junior QB A.J. McCarron has already led his team to one national title, but faced serious challenges this season in games against Texas A&M and LSU.
Notre Dame's freshman QB Everett Golson has successfully led his team to an undefeated season, but has been pulled in favor of his predecessor Tommy Rees during several key plays.
Who has the advantage?
As far as the passing game, McCarron has a 1.7 adjusted passing yard per attempt advantage over Golson (via sports-reference.com). However, Golson has a huge advantage in rushing stats. He has 305 rushing yards this season, to McCarron's -5.
McCarron's inability to run the ball will be costly in a match against the Fighting Irish defense, who will be able to focus their energy on other key Tide offensive players.
Advantage: Notre Dame. Golson's ability to run the ball will give the Tide's defense one more rusher to worry about on the field, thereby thinning coverage on key Irish rushers and receivers.
What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? A quote that fits both the Tide and Fighting Irish defenses. According to FoxSports.com, Notre Dame is the No. 1 defense in the country, with the Tide at No. 2. The simulators at whatifsports.com have the rolls reversed, with Alabama in the lead and the Fighting Irish in the No. 2 slot.
Advantage: None. This will be an epic slugfest between the top two defenses in the country.
Defending champion Tide coach Nick Saban will face Brian Kelly in his first trip to the BCS title game. Both are incredible coaches. Both have great records. Saban has experience on his side. He has won 3 national championships and 4 SEC Championships, while Kelly has only won 2 Big East championships during his tenure with Cincinnati. Kelly, on the other hand, has incredible momentum this season, winning the AP, Eddie Robinson and SN Coach of the Year awards.
Advantage: Saban. He has more experience at the national title level.
Simply: this is going to be a great game. It will see strength against strength in a highly anticipated title matchup that will no doubt be the most watched in BCS history. It's worth noting that the teams with the top two defenses in the nation are meeting in the title game, not the top two offenses.
So who will win?
Notre Dame and Alabama will both need to bring their A-game. This author does not like to make predictions, but I think both teams are capable of victory. I'm just happy to see two great teams who played a smart and clean game all season meet in the title matchup.