Manti Te'o

Bowl Preview: BCS National Championship

Bowl Preview: Alabama vs. Notre Dame

Alabama vs Notre Dame

1

Rush Defense

4

6

Pass Defense

21

26

Sacks

14

19

Turnovers Gained

40

1

Total Defense

6

20

Rush Offense

27

84

Pass Offense

75

53

Sacks Allowed

28

40

Total Offense

49

What to Know About Alabama:

T.J. Yeldon
T.J. Yeldon is part of a fierce rushing attack

The Crimson Tide have had a very good year, minus the loss to Texas A&M.  Whether you want to debate if they should be there or not, mind you this: Oregon and Kansas State were the top two teams towards the end of the season, both controlling their own fate with just a couple of games to go.  Both choked. Alabama faced a mean Georgia team (just one spot lower in the rankings at the time) in the conference championship and it came down to a single play.  The only argument that might be worth debating is the penalized Ohio State team, who other than Notre Dame, was the only team to finish the season undefeated.

The Offense

Before the season and into the early part of it, I saw McCarron as nothing more than a game manager.  He since that time has proved he will win games when he needs to, and was even up in the Heisman discussion into the later quarter of the season.  Though McCarron has the skills to be the playmaker, Saban relies on the running game first and foremost.  With running backs like T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy it isn’t hard to see why.  When/if McCarron has to go to the air, wide out Amari Cooper will be looking to stretch the field.  The dominant freshman has been playing like a senior all season long.  The line will be a good match up to watch as Barret Jones has battled injury but says he will play tonight, and leads an NFL-caliber line against one of its toughest match ups all year.

The Defense

This year’s defense is not as dominant as last season’s, and the secondary has been more vulnerable.  Notre Dame will have a difficult time trying to run, especially with the presence of C.J. Moseley and Nico Johnson at linebacker.  I would not be surprised to see if Alabama puts All-American CB Dee Milliner on Toma or Jones.  Either way, they must contain Golson and force him into making the type of mental mistakes many teams experience with a freshman.  

What to Know About Notre Dame:

Manti Te'o
Manti Te’o is the heart and soul of this Irish squad

As recently as 2001, ESPN analysts such as Tony Kornheiser were claiming Notre Dame would never be “back”.  Bet he would like to eat his words about now.  Sure, it is one season, but when you say a team will never be “back”, any season with a National Championship birth is a great one as it is more than 118 other FBS teams can say.  With a few games that were closer than they should have been, it was still the Irish who came out on top.  Therefore, nobody can really question them being in Miami tonight.

The Offense

Prior to the season, it seemed as if Tommy Rees was going to be taking the snaps for the Irish.  Boy how that changed.  Everett Golson got his chance, and with some learning struggles along the way, has bettered an aspect of his game each and every week.  Supporting Golson with the run game will be RBs Cierre Wood and Theo RiddickWood, when he is on his game, is the best RB on the roster.  Riddick was undoubtedly better during the season, though, not to mention he is much better receiver out of the backfield than Wood.  TE Tyler Eifert is one of the best in the country at his position.  If Golson has the time to throw, Eifert, as well as Robby Toma, T.J. Jones, and John Goodman could have big games.

The Defense

This team has, hands down, the best defensive line in the country.  The secondary has outplayed their expectations, and the linebacking core is dominant with one of the most frightening names in all of college football in it: Manti Te’O.  The Heisman finalist has had a turbulent season with the loss of his grandmother and girlfriend before the Michigan game, a game that Te’O played possessed.  The number one concern should be to stop Yeldon and Lacy as they will be the key to Bama‘s success.  They must also be careful not to fall asleep and get sucked in to biting on a play action, especially with the speed Cooper possesses.

Ninja’s Final Pick of the 2012 College Football Season:  Alabama

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