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BCS Bowl: Alabama will tame Notre Dame

Everything will be on the line tonight when the nation’s two top college football teams meet head on in south Florida tonight to determine this season’s national champion.

These two football programs are rich in history as the Alabama Crimson Tide has won 14 national titles and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 11. Alabama has won three title over the past 20 years, while Notre Dame has been shutout of national title since 1988.

So whom you ask will win? This writer feels the odds are in favor of the Alabama Crimson Tide in winning another national title. The teams are very close in overall talent but three or four key factors fall on the side of Alabama and that should be enough for them to claim their second consecutive national crown.

Alabama’s offense will be run by AJ McCarron at quarterback, who will be starting in his second straight BCS title game. Notre Dame’s quarterback Everett Golson has had a terrific season guiding the Irish offense by limited his mistakes as a first year starter. However, he has not produced the numbers McCarron has nor has he been tested in stressful situations. McCarron has more yards passing 2,669 than Golson at 2,135.

McCarron has also thrown 15 more touchdowns than Golson and two interceptions less than the Notre Dame QB. As starters they are relatively close McCarron is 24-2, wile Golson is 11-0. The intangibles that do not get that much media attention also fall on the side of Alabama. The Tide are in the nation’s top 40 in punt and kick return yardage average.

Notre Dames does not even fall within the top 80 in those categories. That tangible will be important with two tough defenses where field position counts with every possession. Alabama has also finished the season higher in punting and kicking, red-zone scoring and turnover ratio. Defense will win this game.

As dominant a defense as the Irish possess, the Crimson Tide are arguably even better. Alabama allowed only 10.7 points per game on defense, second only to Notre Dame. The Alabama defense was no. 1 in the nation in yards allowed per game with only 246. Alabama had 34 sacks during the season, 81 tackles that ended in a loss and picked off 17 passes. Even though defense will win the game, offense will put the frosting on the cake.

Alabama’s offense has an advantage statistically over Notre Dame. The Tide scored at a rate of 38.5 points a game, which ranked them no. 15 in the nation. Alabama has two rushers with over 1,000 yards apiece  and 27 touchdown between them. McCarron has tossed 26 touchdown and the Bama offense topped the 400 yard mark on 10 occasions and the 500 yard mark on four occasions.

Will this game be close? Certainly, it may even go to overtime, but in tight games where every play counts and mistakes can mean the difference between being national champion and being no. 2, Alabama’s experience and slightly better team talent will lead them to victory. Take the Tide as they win their national title no. 15.

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