It's been more than six years since the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were in a BCS bowl game, and 24 years since the Golden Domers played for sole possession of the national championship.
On the other side, it's only been 12 months since the Alabama Crimson Tide last won a BCS National Championship by throttling LSU 21-0 inside the Superdome.
Clearly, Nick Saban's squad boasts a tremendous advantage in the experience department coming into Monday night's long-awaited title clash.
Having won two national championships in the past three seasons, I fully expect 2013's title tilt to be won by the more experienced Crimson Tide.
Many of Alabama's players have experienced the big game environment on more than one occasion, and have performed under the pressure and heat of the spotlight in the past. It's not that I don't believe Notre Dame is a championship caliber football team, it's that I don't believe the Irish are ready to conquer such a stage against team that's thrived on it.
Who ya got?
Another concerning statistic the Irish can't shake off, no matter how hard they try: Notre Dame is just 6-11 in bowl games since winning the 1989 Fiesta Bowl to claim the 1988 national championship. The Irish are 2-10 in their last 12 bowl games since 1994.
As far as the two coaches are concerned, Saban has the obvious edge over Brian Kelly.
While Saban has won three national championships in the last decade, Kelly lost the only previous BCS bowl appearance of his career (2009 Orange Bowl). Therefore the lack of experience on the Notre Dame sideline extends beyond the players.
This doesn't mean the Crimson Tide will annihilate the Irish on Monday, but instead make better decisions and execute more effectively in key moments.
Notre Dame is without a doubt one of the best college football teams we've seen in a long time, allowing just 10.3 points per game this season (better than Alabama), but it cannot match its opponent's experience. The difference is simple: While Notre Dame has been here before, Alabama was just here.
And that can't change before kickoff.
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