Alabama will beat Notre Dame for its third BCS national championship in four years. I never bet against Nick Saban in title games. His teams are always prepared and laser-focused. Alabama is deep, experienced and used to the gigantic stage it’ll play on tonight. Notre Dame’s last national title came in 1988 and they’re undefeated. Kudos to them for that, but that’s where the back-slapping ends.
Alabama, of course, plays in the SEC. Week in, week out — even if they’re playing a cupcake out of conference opponent — the stakes are high. The Crimson Tide blew out 10 of its 12 opponents this season. The defense is brutally tough and quarterback AJ McCarron, the nation’s leader in passing efficiency, is a steady, unheralded leader. Alabama is bigger, stronger, deeper, more athletic and better coached. The Crimson Tide also boasts two 1,000 yard runners — Eddie Lacy (1,182) and T.J. Yeldon (1,000) — and averages 225 yards rushing per game.
Notre Dame’s defense is no slouch though. The Irish, led by All-American linebacker Manti Te’o, have the sixth ranked defense and are fourth against the run, allowing only 92 yards per game. Notre Dame is tops when it comes to points allowed at 10.3, while Alabama, second nationally, gives up 10.7 points per game. Notre Dame’s offense, led by second-year quarterback Everett Golson, isn’t a particularly prolific one, but neither is Alabama’s. Golson has thrown only five interceptions all year, so it’s obviously important for him to continue to take care of the ball and try to put pressure on the Alabama defense with a combination of his feet and arm.
That being said, I think this is a close game in the first half, then Alabama’s depth and experience come into play and the Tide pulls away in the second half.
Alabama 31, Notre Dame 17.