Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Tip-off: Monday, January 7, 2013 – 8:00 PM ET
Sun Life Stadium, MIAMI, FL
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are probably the most storied program in college football, a team that played up to their championship history in a resurgent season that now has YouWager fans excited about the Irish getting very close to another title.
In order to earn it Notre Dame will have to knock off defending BCS champion Alabama Crimson Tide, another tradition-rich team that’s back to dominating the sport the way the Irish did before.
Tonight top-ranked Fighting Irish and No. 2 Crimson Tide meet in Miami in a dream game for the national championship, a matchup that wasn’t very likely to take place until late in the season with the outright lead in Associated Press national titles also on the line.
The last time the Irish won a championship was in 1989, closing out an undefeated 1988 season by beating the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Fiesta Bowl. After a 12-0 regular season, 2013’s team has the chance to match that feat.
In his third year in South Bend, Brian Kelly can join legendary coaches such as Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian and Lou Holtz as the coach of a champion Fighting Irish team, having returned Notre Dame to national prominence.
Heisman Trophy runner-up Manti Te’o is probably most responsible for the team’s winning formula. The senior linebacker had seven interceptions and 103 tackles, and proved to be the heart and Notre Dame’s emotional leader.
Just like the Irish, the Tide (12-1) looked to be out of the BCS title game picture after being upset 29-24 by then-No. 15 Texas A&M Aggies on Nov. 10. However, the defeats by the Kansas State Wildcats and the Oregon Ducks pushed Alabama into second in the BCS rankings of Nov. 18.
The team managed to stay there by winning their last three contests and rallying from 11 down to beat the Georgia Bulldogs 32-28 in the SEC championship game Dec. 1, taking what was in effect a play-in for the BCS title game.
The Tide persevered much like last season, when they reached the title game after a defeat to the LSU Tigers appeared to put it out of the running. Having overwhelmed the powerful LSU college football team 21-0 in the rematch for the national title, Saban’s team is looking for its third championship in four seasons.
As dominant as Notre Dame has been on defense, Alabama has probably done a better job. The Tide were second to the Irish with 10.7 points allowed a game and first with 246.0 yards per contest.
Alabama’s deep defense recorded 34 sacks, 81 tackles for defeat and 17 interceptions.