Top ranked Notre Dame meets BCS #2 Alabama in Miami tonight, with a national title on the line. The Crimson Tide look to win their second straight championship, and third in four years, and give Nick Saban his 5th title. That would make them the first program since Nebraska (1994, 1995, 1997) to accomplish that feat. A Fighting Irish win would give Brian Kelly his first career national championship, and Notre Dame’s first since 1988.
We have asked our staff to share their thoughts on the game, including former Lead Editor Tim Tolley.
Matt de Bear
You can read more of my thoughts in my preview from yesterday, but I expect this to be a very close game. You have the top 2 scoring defenses in the country going head to head, and it’s hard to imagine either offense doing too much. In the end, I think Alabama just has too much talent and wins 23-16.
It seems as though the SEC allure has the nation captivated again as 12-1, 2nd ranked Alabama is almost a double-digit favorite over their undefeated, higher ranked opponent, Notre Dame. Problem is, the almighty SEC wasn’t on par with recent history and ND played an equally strong schedule, from start to finish. Neither team is going to wow you offensively but neither is prone to mistakes. The difference will be the Notre Dame front seven, particularly in the trenches. Those who don’t know the names Nix and Tuitt will by the time the clock hits zero. Notre Dame 17, Alabama 16.
The match up that headlines this game is Alabama’s offensive line vs. Notre Dame’s defensive front. Both of those units are arguably the best of their respective kind. Expect lots of physical defense from both teams and whoever establishes their running game faster will surely have the advantage. The key will be which quarterback can make the big time throws in critical situations and I believe that A.J. McCarron is more likely to do that because he has the championship game experience. Alabama 20-14.
Notre Dame has a very strong defense, but they haven’t faced an offense like Alabama’s. Notre Dame’s offense won’t be able to keep up, and the game could get ugly if ND’s defense doesn’t play their best game of the season Monday night. Alabama wins 31-13.
This prediction is most definitely biased. I have despised Notre Dame from my childhood (I was born in 1959) and I have heard from my friends @Rowlffdogg and @kellieguinan how poorly they were treated by the ND fans in 2006. As for the game itself ND’s offense will not be able to move the ball. Alabama 27 Notre Dame 10.