ND vs. Alabama: One For The Ages

Tonight will feature two of the most historic programs in college sports. Not only will they be facing each other, but it’s for the National Championship. This is an area where both have plenty of experience. Alabama claims 14 national titles in their history, and Notre Dame claims 11. Since the poll era began in 1946, Alabama and Notre Dame rank number 1 and 2 in poll championships. Alabama has won 9 and ND has taken home 8. The two schools are both among the top 10 most winning programs in College football. The programs have been vastly different in the recent past. Notre Dame has gone through constant coaching changes and disappointing season since their last title in 1988. Brian Kelly, in his third year has brought the program back to where it’s supposed to be. The Irish came up with big wins over Michigan, Michigan St., Stanford, Oklahoma, and USC. Thanks to some help from Baylor and Stanford, they found a spot in the title game. Alabama has been quite the opposite in recent years. Since Nick Saban joined the staff in 2007, Alabama has reestablished itself as the big dog in the SEC. Alabama upset top ranked Florida in 2009 to earn a spot in the national title game where they defeated the Texas Longhorns. The tide’s 2011 championship was a bit different. They played number one LSU during the regular season and lost due to a few botched field goals. All the dominos fell into the right place for Alabama to get a second chance at the Tigers. The Tide didn’t disappoint. The ‘Bama defense didn’t allow LSU to cross the fifty until the fourth quarter. This year, the top two teams bring some interesting matchups. The Notre Dame front seven has been dominant all year led by Heisman candidate Manti Te’o They have the lowest PPG average, and the front seven is a big reason. Notre Dame is only allowing an average of 10.3PPG. The Alabama offensive line is an elite unit itself. The team features two all Americans: center Barrett Jones, and guard Chance Warmack. The Notre Dame defense will face their most difficult test of the year. Louis Nix is the key player to watch. If he can keep Barrett Jones occupied, it should free up the Notre Dame linebackers to make plays. If Nix gets blown up, things could get ugly. The other side of the matchup is what looks bad for Notre Dame. Redshirt freshman Everett Golson will be asked to lead the offense against a well-prepared Nick Saban defense. The chess match of Saban and Kelly will determine the game. Both have been called “genius” for their creativity on their respective side of the ball. It will be interesting to see how Kelly choses to attack. Overall I think Notre Dame is the better team. I think the title means more to a school who has been irrelevant for quite some time. Their magical season will have a magical end. I can’t see that team walking off the field with a loss. If the ND offense can put up points, then I see no reason why ND would lose. My final prediction is ND24, Alabama 17.