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BCS National Championship Odds, Predictions


Daniel Shirley-US PRESSWIRE

The 2012-13 bowl season will reach its pinnacle on Monday night, when the heavily favored Alabama Crimson Tide will take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the lopsided BCS National Championship game with the kickoff set for 5 p.m.

The Crimson Tide  (12-1, 6-7 ATS) have the benefit of receiving a 9.5-point spread over the Fighting Irish, the largest spread since 2003 when Miami was favored over Ohio State.

Meanwhile, the over/under opened at 42.5 in Vegas, but has dropped to as low as 39.5 as of Friday afternoon.

But let’s read between the numbers.

Alabama possesses one of the most potent offenses in all of college football, averaging 38.5 ppg, but only allows 10.7 ppg. On the other side of the ball, Notre Dame is averaging just a shade below 27 ppg, while allowing just 10.3 ppg. With the Crimson Tide owning the slight edge on offense, it’s their game to lose.

Nick Saban has produced, yet again, another top shelf team in his five-year tenure with the Alabama program and boasts about 15 NFL Draft players (compared to Notre Dame’s 10), according to NFLScouts.com. The team has not only been at the top of the national football landscape for quite some time, but has already won the national title in two of the last four seasons.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame hasn’t seen this much praise in the last 25 years. But they carry with them an efficient, staying-within-their-wheelhouse type offense that gives them just enough points on the board to fend off opposing offenses. And for the sake of this game, they’ve have the best chance at doing just that.

This season, Notre Dame sits in the high ranks of staying on the field in third-down conversions. They completed 52 percent of their third-down passes with less than 10 yards to go (329 yards on 23 of 44 passing). With more than 10 yards to go, they’ve upped their game to a 57 percent first-down rate, completing 21 of 37 passes good for 306 yards. That ups their rate to 7.6 yards per third-down attempt.

If Notre Dame can maintain this high third-down completion rate and keep Nick Saban’s offense off the field, they have an outside chance of upsetting Alabama. But it won’t come easy. The Crimson Tide rank second in the country in Passing S&P+, which basically accounts for yards per pass and deflections/passes batted down. The only two teams that torched them through the air were Heisman winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M and LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger. Though, Notre Dame play-caller Zach Mettenberger does have many of the same mobile attributes that have faired so well with Manziel against Alabama.

All in all, the game offers up two of the top-ranked defenses in the league.

Prediction: Alabama 24, Notre Dame 10

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