If you have been anywhere near a computer or television set in the last 37 days, you know that the Alabama Crimson Tide and Notre Dame Fighting Irish are playing for the BCS championship. The hype for this game has been unprecedented because both programs have such prestige.
ESPN, with its vested interest in viewer ratings for the game, has been running specials on all its networks for the last week. Episodes of shows discuss Notre Dame's return to glory.
Every sports website mentions that this game could end up rivaling USC and Texas for the title of best BCS Championship Game.
But whenever you build something up, both publicly and in your own head, odds are good that it is going to disappoint you. This game is like that movie all your friends tell you about, the one you end up wondering what the fuss was about.
Which Team Needs To Win This Game More?
Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN wrote that this game will always be remembered simply because it is Alabama vs. Notre Dame.
This is a game where the final score will signal the continuation of Bama's (and the SEC's) rule, or the beginnings of a Notre Dame title run. Whatever happens, it will be remembered, as will the people who played in it.
We had that last year with LSU and Alabama. That was supposed to be the greatest showdown in the history of college football because those two teams knew each other so well and had such great defenses.
Then when you saw the game unfold, it was hard to watch. There was some great defense, but when one team only scores field goals, it eventually becomes boring and grating.
It also didn't help that LSU gained just 92 yards of offense in that game.
A football game like this one has to peak at the right time, the day of the game or the day before. You need the hype reaching a fever pitch right before kickoff. If it does, then it would take an absolute clunker to disappoint.
Without doubt, this game will shatter all sorts of television ratings records for a college football game. The Texas-USC game holds the current record at nearly 36 million viewers.
But ratings tell us nothing about quality. Notre Dame and Alabama are very similar teams. Both play incredible defense, finishing first and second in the country in scoring defense. Both teams need to run the ball on offense to score points.
There just isn't that one hook that will elevate this game from good to great. If you are rooting for Alabama or Notre Dame it will be great if your team wins. For casual viewers just tuning in to see a great game, you need exceptional performances by both sides.
Everyone has heard about Alabama vs. Notre Dame for so long that the game has to be the best game ever to match its hype. That is a tall order for any game to live up to, and this one will not be able to do it.