Alabama vs. Notre Dame: Key Matchups That Will Determine National Championship

Chris HummerAnalyst IJanuary 6, 2013

It's a matchup literally weeks in the making, and on Monday evening Alabama and Notre Dame will finally square off with a national championship on the line.

This game will feature everything a college football fan could ask for: two historic programs, an undefeated team, the defending national champions, a Heisman runner-up—the list goes on and on.

It's SEC speed and size versus, well, an SEC-style team.

Both squads feature extraordinary defenses and offenses that do just enough to allow their respective teams to win. Because of this, the game sets up to be a slugfest between two evenly matched teams.

These types of games always come down to a few individual or positional matchups. This one won't be any different.

Let's examine the key matchups that will determine the winner of the BCS National Championship Game.


Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert vs. Alabama's secondary

At 6'6", 250 pounds, Tyler Eifert is the type of tight end that has NFL scouts salivating and, more importantly, the Alabama defensive staff scurrying.

Eifert is Notre Dame's leading receiver this season, reeling in 44 balls for 624 yards and four touchdowns. But he's so much more than just a big receiving option.

He's a target that forces opposing defenses to focus all their attention upon him. He's too big for cornerbacks to contain and too fast for safeties to consistently stay in front of.

Eifert is easily the Irish's most dangerous offensive weapon. You can bet Alabama's top corner, Dee Milliner, will draw the assignment for most of the game.


Alabama center Barrett Jones vs. Notre Dame nose guard Louis Nix III

Notre Dame has allowed only two rushing touchdowns all season, and Louis Nix III is the biggest reason why.

The 326-pound nose tackle is an absolute force in the middle. He draws double-teams on almost every key snap, and his ability to penetrate has given opposing rushing attacks fits all season.

He will face his biggest challenge on Monday in Barrett Jones.

Jones, an All-American at tackle last season, is a huge part of a rushing attack that averages 5.6 yards per carry. He gets upfield with ease and controls the line of scrimmage with the poise only a senior could display.

The winner of this matchup will go a long way in determining the success of Alabama's rushing attack.


Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson vs. Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron

OK, so this isn't a true on-field matchup, but the fact remains the quarterback that plays better will likely determine the result of this game.

AJ McCarron is an experienced leader who has already led his team to a national title.

Everett Golson is a first-year starter who came on strong late in the year to give the Irish the passing attack they lacked.

Golson has the ability to extend plays and make things happen with his feet. McCarron can push the ball down the field and is proven in crunch time.

In this instance, McCarron is the easy choice to get the better of this matchup.

His experience will come into play and more than likely spur the Crimson Tide to a second straight national championship.