Staff Predictions: Notre Dame vs. Alabama
Observer Sports Writers | Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Wow. Notre Dame. Alabama. A crystal football on the line. It’s an unbelievable matchup between two unbelievable teams. Championship-winning football teams ride their defense. They avoid mistakes. And they make plays when it matters most.
Both squads fit that bill, but the Irish are rightfully underdogs. Nick Saban has earned the right to be favored in any game, and Alabama has an unbelievable amount of talent packing its roster.
Yet there’s something special going on. I can’t deny it, and I’d be foolish to pick against it. The Crimson Tide have shown just enough weaknesses to be vulnerable, and with the game on the line, there’s no unit I trust more than Manti Te’o’s defense. Notre Dame will win the national title. Wow, indeed.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 20, Alabama 16
Assistant Managing Editor
This one should be a game for the ages. Anyone who has watched Alabama or Notre Dame this season knows it won’t be a blowout either way. The Tide’s 1-2 rushing combination has yet to face a front seven as physical as Notre Dame’s, while sophomore quarterback Everett Golson’s stiffest challenge comes in the season finale. If the Irish are to surprise the college football world, they need to score touchdowns in the red zone.
In the championship game, the teams are typically more or less even, so it comes down to preparation and focus. Nick Saban and Brian Kelly’s squads will certainly have that, so it very well could come down to the final possession as Notre Dame chases the most unlikely of what would be 12 national championships.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 17, Alabama 16
This season has been one big storybook tale for Notre Dame and its fans. Like any good storybook, the ending has to have a triumph over a great and powerful villain. Alabama is the ultimate power in college football – and it is one win away from staking a claim to a true dynasty. The question everyone will eagerly wait to see answered is: Do the Irish have it in them to take down the mighty Alabama and write the storybook ending?
I see no reason why the Irish can’t pull off a victory for the ages. Notre Dame’s identity all season has come from its front seven. They will rule the day and bottle up Alabama’s rushers, forcing A.J. McCarron to win the game with his arm. He won’t. Notre Dame will punctuate the most remarkable season in its history with a win.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 23, Alabama 20
Associate Sports Editor
This game is going to be an all-out showdown. This game will make you tired just from watching it. This game will not be pretty, and Notre Dame shines in these types of games.
Notre Dame’s chances in this game will depend on its offensive line. The front five will have to pave the way for a running game that is the only hope for the Irish. It will also have to protect Everett Golson on key conversions. But its success will also keep the ball from a very underrated Alabama offense.
This game will see Golson start his legend, Manti Te’o seal his legend and Brian Kelly become a legend. I cannot believe I am writing this, but somehow this game will crown Notre Dame as champion.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 24, Alabama 23
Associate Sports Editor
No one could have seen this coming: the two most storied programs in college football history playing in the national title game a season removed from an 8-5 season for the Irish. No one could have seen coming after the Crimson Tide fell to Texas A&M at home a month ago. But here we are, set to watch Notre Dame and Alabama tussle and tug and grind in a national championship game that will please purists everywhere.
This game is not about SEC speed or the SEC’s superiority or Nick Saban’s championship pedigree to go along with his Napoleon complex. This game is about the running games and the rushing defenses – which plays to the strengths of both teams. But this season has been too perfect for the Irish to not actually be perfect.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 19, Alabama 17