By Dennis Glade
Washington Times Herald
Alabama is a football factory, they are the reigning BCS National Champion, they have Nick Saban, the best head coach in the country, but they won¹t be best team on the field at Sun Life Stadium Monday night.
That would be Notre Dame. Yes, that team, which hasn't won a national championship since 1988, will beat the highly favored Crimson Tide.
Notre Dame is undefeated, ranked No. 1 ranked team in the country and yet they are a 10-point underdog to Alabama.
Alabama has All-Americans everywhere you look, and are deeper at nearly every position than Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish don't have the recent pedigree that the SEC, and more recently that Alabama, has.
The pundits, many of which think the SEC is far and away the best conference in the country don¹t think Notre Dame belongs in the same sentence as Alabama. The humorous part of this thought is if you really look at these two teams, they are nearly replicas of each other.
Both teams ask its quarterbacks to manage the game, while not turning the ball over. They both have excellent backfields, and a great defense. Notre Dame boasts the top scoring defense in the country, surrendering just 10.3 points per game led by Heisman runner-up middle linebacker Manti Te¹o.
Te¹o has dominated and controlled every game he has played this season, and I don't expect Monday night to be any different.
You may have heard skeptics of Notre Dame saying that the Irish defense hasn¹t seen a dominant running attack like the one Alabama will put out there in Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon.
The pair both ran for over 1,000 yards, and they combined for 27 rushing touchdowns. They're right Notre Dame hasn't seen a rushing attack like Lacy and Yeldon, but the Alabama offense hasn¹t seen a player like Te'o, and that will be one of the two keys to victory for Notre Dame.
The team that will be crowned national champion Monday evening will come down to which team wins the quarterback battle. Everett Golson is a freshman quarterback, and very inexperienced compared to his counterpart, Alabama's AJ McCarron. McCarron already has one national championship, and he didn¹t disappoint this season.
The junior quarterback threw 26 touchdowns and three interceptions, while completing 66 percent of his passes.
Golson has faced heavy criticism the entire season, from the first month of the season when he was replaced late by head coach Brian Kelly in favor of Tommy Rees. Golson has earned the confidence of Kelly and the rest of his teammates. Golson has passed every test he has faced with flying colors this season. Golson has thrown 11 touchdowns, and only five interceptions in 282 attempted passes. Every big game this season, Golson has made two or three big plays that have changed the momentum of the game.
Both teams getting six weeks to prepare for this game means we are in store for the best title game since the 2006 Rose Bowl when Texas upset defending champion USC. Expect a game going down to the wire, and expect Golson to make one more play than McCarron.
Score: Notre Dame 23, Alabama 17.