Alabama is playing for its third national title in four years not because of one or two individual players, but because of its entire program. Like any team in this position, however, the Crimson Tide are not lacking star power.
After 37 days of strategizing, Notre Dame will unveil its plan to shut down Alabama on Monday night. For the Irish to win their first national title since 1988, they'll have to contain five players. Let's look at each one.
The Irish contained Biletnikoff Award winner Marqise Lee in their win over USC, but they won't have the luxury of facing Cooper with an inexperienced quarterback throwing to him.
The talented freshman made the game-winning catch in the SEC Championship Game for Alabama and has become one of the biggest deep threats in the nation.
24-2 as a starter. Even by Alabama standards, that's pretty darn impressive. McCarron came of age in this game a year ago with an unflappable performance in a 21-0 win over LSU.
McCarron isn't a runner, but has enough mobility and strong pocket awareness to cause some difficulties for the Notre Dame pass rush. His worst game of the year, against Texas A&M, was not coincidentally the one game the Crimson Tide lost.
This isn't the most talented secondary Nick Saban has had, but Milliner is poised to become the third Alabama cornerback to be taken in the first round of the NFL draft in the past four years. He'll likely be matched up against Tyler Eifert when Eifert is split out wide.
LSU, Texas A&M and Georgia all showed that you can throw on Alabama, but Milliner is a legitimate superstar who will capitalize on even the slightest of mistakes.
Like Alabama, Notre Dame wants to run the football. Keeping Williams away from Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood is the key to making that happen.
The senior nose guard clogs up the middle of the defense, and if matched up against right guard Mike Golic Jr., will have a significant size advantage.
Of Alabama's 1-2 punch at running back, Yeldon is a bigger concern for the Irish than Eddie Lacy. Lacy is more powerful, but Yeldon is the home run hitter and the more effective of the two in the screen game.
Notre Dame has shut down great running backs this year, including Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell and Stanford's Stepfan Taylor, but Yeldon presents a challenge the likes of which the Irish haven't seen this season.