As the BCS National Championship Game approaches, the stage is being set for greatness. Alabama, a team whose success is predicated on the power run, is squaring off against Notre Dame, a team built to stop the run. We've talked about the Tide's power running attack against the Irish, and now we turn our attention to the skies.
First up, we take a look at Alabama's big-play potential with the play-action pass. We've seen AJ McCarron and Amari Cooper hook up deep with the help of play action, and for them to stretch the field against the Fighting Irish, they will have to do this more than once.
Obviously, D.J. Fluker's ability to block the Irish's defensive line is going to be something to watch. Another issue that's been made clear during the 2012 season? McCarron's shaky play in the red zone.
KeiVarae Russell versus McCarron is going to be one to see in the red zone. If Russell can make a Sanders Commings- or Deshazor Everett-type play against the Tide then momentum can certainly be swung in the Irish's direction.
While running and stopping the run are going to be the bread and butter for Alabama, finding success through the air is a must. McCarron will need a few completions early to gain his confidence against an Irish secondary that has improved as the season has progressed.
Big plays can be had by both sides. Who do you think has the edge when Alabama is trying to throw the ball?