January 6, 2013 // Notre Dame Football

BCS Championship Preview

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Jan 4, 2013; Fort Lauderdale FL, USA; quarterback Everett Golson (right) and offensive coordinator Chuck Martin (left) during a press conference for the 2013 BCS National Championship game at Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

As with any match-up, there are numerous reasons why a certain team is favored. The expert prognosticators love to pretend that it is just a foregone conclusion as to why a certain team will win, and why the other team has less of a chance at success. Of course that doesn’t mean that it always plays out on the field as these so called experts like to pretend the games do – See Florida vs. Louisville.

A Notre Dame victory on January 7th will require a lot more than just talent. For the Irish to pull out their 13th and most important win of the season, they will need to be consistent in areas of strength and incredibly focused and disciplined in areas of weakness. Trust us when we say that Alabama Coach Nick Saban will have his players ready to play. There is a reason the Tide have consistently been one of best teams in the country over the last 5 years. Love Saban or hate him, if you truly follow college football with a passion, you have to respect him and his teams accomplishments. If you follow the Irish and their 3rd year Coach Brian Kelly, then you know that he, by self-confession, is trying to emulate what Saban has done in his tenure with the Crimson Tide.

When both teams hit the field in Miami, a victory is going to come down to certain factors and how they play out, as with any game. Both teams are disciplined, both have very talented skill players, and both teams understand how to win. Each coach understands how to manage a game in crucial moments and under the pressure of a national spotlight. So what does that leave as deciding factors as to which storied program will walk away with another national title under their belt?

The biggest factor will be execution. While this may sound too simplistic, when two teams this talented meet on the field, proper execution is not always an easy thing to accomplish. Will Alabama be able to run the ball against the best front seven they will have seen this year?. Will the Irish defensive front seven be able to handle the strength and experience of the best offensive line they have seen all year? Will an Alabama defense be able to contain a mobile quarterback with some success, as they have struggled against quarterbacks who can move, and teams that run the spread offense. These are just some of the question that need to be answered, and soon will be, as we are just few days away from kick-off.

If the Notre Dame defensive front can get pressure on Bama’s QB A.J. McCarron, then that allows the Irish to drop a linebacker into coverage and help an albeit much improved, but still young secondary.  If they cannot do this, then the Irish secondary becomes very vulnerable on an island all by itself. The battle of the trenches is truly where this game will be won or lost for either team. If Alabama wins this battle it could spell doom for the Irish, as it will open the up the passing attack and give Tide running backs Lacy and Yeldon space to roam, and that is not a good thing. If the Irish win this battle, the Alabama offensive attack becomes much more one dimensional and they will struggle to put points up on the board. Instead of watching the ball when it is snapped, fans for both teams should keep their eyes focused on the trenches, as it will be an early indicator of who will take control of the game.

Another huge factor will be the play of Irish 1st year starting quarterback Everett Golson. Golson has proven all year long that he can create space and provide time for his receivers to get open. He also has shown the ability to scramble and make plays with his feet, when no other options are available.

That is not to say he has been perfect, as he still tends to miss reads, dance too long in the backfield, and make mental errors in regards to the security of the ball. These are all common traits of a young QB, but if the Irish plan on winning this game, he has to be very consistent and smart with each and every decision he makes. We are sure Coach Kelly has added a few wrinkles into the offense and hopefully Golson can handle them without feeling the pressure of the moment.

If the Crimson Tide defense stays in position and trusts each other to do their job, it could make for a bit of rough night the young QB. Golson is going to need confidence in his throws, be accurate, and understand that he will need to involve all of his weapons, not only a select few. For the Irish offense to be successful they are going to need to run the ball, include all their wide-outs in the game-plan, even more so if Alabama plans on double-teaming Notre Dames most recognizable offensive star,
Tyler Eifert. The Irish have to consistently involve Riddick in the run game, and passing game from swing passes to screens, and if they do, it could be spell trouble for a very good Alabama defense.

Georgia and Texas A&M both proved that this Bama defense can be scored on, and they did it by having a solid passing attack and an aggressive running attack. The Irish will have to do the same to be successful and can do so, as long as their players execute. Bama can be vulnerable in their secondary, and we are sure that Coach Kelly is aware of this. Notre Dame needs to take advantage of an average Tide secondary when possible, and then keep pounding the ball. The Irish can ill-afford to become pass happy or stagnant with the run on offense if they plan to keep Alabama on their back heels all game. The line of success and failure is so thin for both teams, that this game could possibly come down to just 2 or 3 plays that will decide it, and most likely this is what will happen.

We have a feeling this game is going to be one for the ages, and absolutely one that no real college football fan should miss. The hype for this game is huge and it should be, as these two teams are part of the cornerstone of college football as we know it. While the Crimson Tide has had more recent success, the Irish have finally arrived on the national scene again. Kelly has this team poised for another long run of success regardless of the outcome of this game, and Irish fans know what this team is capable of doing when they execute. Now the question is how well can they execute against the defending National Champions.

Prediction –

Notre Dame – 24

Alabama – 20

Comments to this Article

  • Beau commented on January 6th, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    GA and Texas A and M have very good offenses. The ND offense is so so IMO.
    ND defeated Pitt, Purdue, USC and OK…al four were defeated in their bowl games. Those signature wins over USC and OK don’t appear so special now. Alabama has the best offense and the best defense that ND will see this season (Stanford has a top notch defence too. )ND has a great red zone D,
    so does the Crimson Tide. However, Ala’s offensive success in the red zone has been nuch better than ND. In summation, I see a close/great game. However,the experience of A.J. McCarron, last years BCS MVP and the number rated QB in America in efficiency, will be the difference. Ala 23 ND 13 Roll Tide and Go Irish, Two storied programs.

    [Reply]

    ND Southy replied on January 6th, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Bama’s sig win is over LSU which also lost.

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  • SteelFanRob commented on January 6th, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    To quote “Beau”: talk is cheap. We’ll all find out in a little over 24 hours which team is the best. Until then, everything is idle speculation.

    At least “Beau” has shown some class and respect and wanted to talk football. That’s always welcome here!

    Where have “Steve” and “Buckeye” gone? Once I called them out and offered to have sane discussions, they left. Appears they prefer to troll around here rather than engage in respectful dialogue.

    Bama and ND: Two storied programs, indeed, “Beau.” Let’s hope they both play up to their potentials and histories!

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    Jack replied on January 7th, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Steelfan,

    I don’t have a problem with intelligent debate either. I stayed out of those comments from those two other idiots because it was pointless. My take on the game is this, I don’t like that fact the Irish have a redshirt freshman at QB. I think that puts this team at a disadvantage. I think EG will be great, but against Saban with a month to prepare he is going to have issues. I think if the defense is put on the field the entire game they will have wear down in the 2nd half. Again I am a pessimist but that is my take. This game hinges on EG’s play.

    My take on this season is as follows: I am proud of this program and proud to be a fan. I think BK has done an excellent job and has set the table for years to come. I never thought I would see ND in a National Championship game in my life time. I also am proud of the fact that ND is the first team to ever be #1 in the polls and #1 in graduation rate. See it can be done.

    GO IRISH BEAT BAMA!

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    SteelFanRob replied on January 7th, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Well said, Jack, well said indeed!

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  • ARMAC commented on January 6th, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    The two offenses are almost statistically identical. They both average about 430 ypg, evenly split between passing and rushing. If ND’s offense is so-so, the same should be said of Bama’s.

    Bama’s advantage is that they score touchdowns in the red zone while the Irish have scored field goals. But ND’s red zone defense is better than Bama’s. In fact, it is statistically astounding. And there is no good reason that Kelly would not be able to fix his team’s red zone offense in post-season. He has all the tools. It isn’t a problem with opposing defenses but a problem of offensive execution. It will be fixed.

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  • pete commented on January 6th, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    My take is this game will be won or lost based on the Notre Dame offense vs the Alabama defense. I think Notre Dames defense will play well and get enough stops to give the offense a chance to score points and win the game. My gut feeling is Golson plays very well and Notre Dame wins 24 to 21.

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  • joeC commented on January 6th, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    The diference in this game are three fold. First Alabama had dept with its defensive line and there is no drop off Second the Irish have yet to face a team with the speed od Alabamas linemen linebackers and safeties. If you saw the A&M game Alabama finally adjusted to the Tezmxas QB They overran almost every play until the thirf quarter When the began to funnel him back to the middle he was not effective and almost got hurt on one play
    People forget Bama should have won they had the ball inside the 5 abd got intercepted on the 2 A TD wins the game! Alabama will blow the Irish off the map.

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  • Jack commented on January 7th, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    I got to stop watching ESPN Radio. McShay just came on and said ND will lose by two touchdowns. No one on that network thinks ND can win and the more I hear about ND’s weaknesses the more I am starting to believe. I need to turn the Herd off.

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    JDH replied on January 7th, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Just remember: Their opinions are no more “expert” than yours. They have no more insight or access to anything we do not.

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    jeff replied on January 7th, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    They thought OKlahoma would blow us out also. How did that work out for them?

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    rob replied on January 8th, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Jack, those boys at ESPN called it wrong- should’ve been by 4 touchdowns, right?

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  • SteelFanRob commented on January 7th, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Jack,

    Think of it like this.

    If ND loses big, then that’s what was expected. Bad for us, but in the end all the pundits will be able to say is that they were right. (My only concern about getting blown out is losing the #1 recruiting class as of now.)

    If ND loses a tight ball game, the pundits would be proven wrong. It’s still bad for us not winning, but at least ND will claim a moral victory (and not lose any recruiting momentum).

    Now, if ND wins, even by 1 point (how much more sweet would a blow out ND win be!), then ND shocks the world. The pundits at ESPN would have to eat their words; BTW: they’re already proved wrong by the simple fact ND is playing for the NC! (Cowherd or whatever his name is in an idiot anyway; it’s amazing what the free enterprise system allows to pass for entertainment!) This would be one of the biggest upsets in recent college football history. It would be a bigger upset then ND beating FSU in ’93 (BTW: the experts then heavily favored the Noles!).

    So, Jack, in 2 out of the 3 scenarios the pundits have more to lose than we do.

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    Jack replied on January 7th, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Lets just get the game started enough is enough.

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  • Evan commented on January 7th, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Believe! Irish win in a nail biter..27-24. Im talking anxiety thru the roof type of game, im so nervous. The Irish have more to play for, BK has them ready, a month of everybody saying they dont belong, be sure these boys are ready to go..

    #GOIRISH

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  • jeff commented on January 7th, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Need a BIG GAME out of Kyle Brindza. 4 for 4 on field goals. ND hangs on and wins a nailbiter 19-17.

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  • Irish ’94 commented on January 7th, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Good luck men, win or lose I am one proud ND man!

    May the road rise to meet you,
    May the wind be always at your back,
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
    Until we meet again,
    May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

    Go Irish!

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on January 7th, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Amen!

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  • Patrick commented on January 7th, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    I don’t find a moral victory in a loss, no matter how close.

    They MUST win. By 1 or 40. On the last pay or in the first half. There is no prize for finishing 2nd (actually ND would probably fall to 3rd behind Oregon if they lose tonight).

    So win or nothing. There is no second chance. There is no “next year.” It’s hard to go undefeated and reach the title game. Ask the players and fans the last 20-some years.

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  • storespook commented on January 7th, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    It doesn’t matter who has been “best” between these 2 teams dring the whole season. Those chapters are done and in the book. It’s about who plays best tonite for 4 qtrs and who has more points when the 4th qtr is done and there is 00.00 minutes left in the game. There are forces at work that go beyond us all surrounding this season.

    Its about the will to win.

    The boys in Blue and Gold are ready.

    Go ND, hit the Tide like they’ve never been hit before.

    Rolllllllllllllllllllllllllll Irishhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    [Reply]

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