Notre Dame Football: Irish Defense Will Shut Down Alabama in BCS Title Game

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2012

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 20:  Danny Spond #13 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates with teammates including Ishaq Williams #11 and Manti T'eo #5 after intercepting a pass on the next to last play of the game against the BYU Cougars at Notre Dame Stadium on October 20, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated BYU 17-14.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Notre Dame has the best defense in the country—and that unit is going to bring a BCS National Championship back to South Bend, Ind.

If you didn't know any better, you'd think that Alabama was the top-ranked team in the nation, a squad that has yet to lose a game and features a Heisman Trophy finalist in the middle of the best defense in the country.

Yet the Fighting Irish are the underdogs heading into the BCS National Championship Game on January 7— has Alabama favored by nearly 10 points.

I'm here to tell you that Alabama might not score more than 10 points on the Notre Dame defense for the entire game.

To be sure, Alabama is a phenomenal football team, one that has an excellent quarterback in A.J. McCarron and a lethal backfield combination of Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon. The Crimson Tide average 38.5 points per game, 14th in the nation.

But they are a run-heavy offense, one that relies on Lacy and Yeldon to get the ball into the end zone. Of the 62 offensive touchdowns that Alabama scored this season, 35 were on the ground, which works out to just over 56 percent.

Notre Dame's defense doesn't bend, break, or flinch against the run. Especially in the red zone.

Take a look at this, courtesy of Michael Smith and the guys at ESPN's Numbers Never Lie:

Think about those numbers for a second, and then think about how the Crimson Tide scores the bulk of the time.

On the ground.

Alabama's inability to penetrate Notre Dame's goal-line defense will force the Crimson Tide to settle for field goals. It forces McCarron to win the game with his arm, and that plays right into Notre Dame's hands.

The saying "defense wins championships" will be proven true yet again when Manti Te'o and company lead the Fighting Irish to the first BCS National Championship in school history.