BCS Championship Preview and Result
It’s fitting that two of the most well-known programs in college football should play for the Coaches’ Trophy and national bragging rights. The Alabama Crimson Tide, of course, are the defending champions and picked to repeat once again when they face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Monday night at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Last season, the Tide led the way in every significant statistical category at the end and compiled an 11-1 record (7-1 within the Southeastern Conference) and a No. 2 ranking before shutting out the Louisiana State University Tigers 21-0 at the Superdome in the 2011 BCS title game played last Jan. 9.
The Irish have not won the national championship since 1989, when Lou Holtz led his 11-0 team to a 34-21 victory over the West Virginia Mountaineers in the ’89 Fiesta Bowl. Notre Dame is the first non-affiliated team to compete for the BCS title since the format was introduced in the 2006-07 season.
Al Dannity’s story on the players to watch for can be found by clicking this link; in it, he notes that Notre Dame inside linebacker Manti Te’o — a runner-up for the 2012 Heisman Trophy — “has been a star this year,” and rightfully so. With seven interceptions, Te’o has been the centerpiece of a defense which has conceded only nine touchdowns all season, and only two rushing TDs. Defensive end Stephon Tuitt has alson been a monster, notching 12 sacks.
Notre Dame’s offense has its own threats: quarterback Everett Golson threw for 2,135 yards and 11 touchdowns with only five interceptions, and rushed for another 305 yards and five TDs. The three-pronged ground attack of Theo Riddick, Cierre Wood and George Atkinson III had a combined 1,981 yards and 14 scores, while the receiving corps of Tyler Eifert and T.J. Jones caught 87 passes for 1,283 yards and eight TDs.
Alabama’s quality is also immediate and evident. It starts with quarterback A.J. McCarron and his 66.8 percent completion rate, 2,669 passing yards, 26 touchdowns against a mere three pickoffs. Running backs Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon have each rushed for more than 1,000 yards and totaled 27 TDs. Amari Cooper is the main receiving threat, with 53 catches for 895 yards and nine scores.
They’re no slouches on defense either as the Tide have allowed fewer than 14 points in 10 of their games, with four shutouts. Linebacker C.J. Mosley is one of their bright spots, amassing 61 solo tackles and four sacks.
Prediction: Alabama 17, Notre Dame 14.
RESULT: In one of the most lopsided contests of the bowl season, Alabama had no trouble winning their third national title in the last four years as they jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead on their way to dismantling Notre Dame 42-14.