Oregon and Kansas State have lost this week guaranteeing a spot in the national title game for Notre Dame if they can get past a Southern Cal team that is likely going to be missing Matt Barkley.
Assuming a Notre Dame win against the Trojans, the only team for them to realistically play in the title game is the winner of the SEC Championship game—either Alabama or Georgia. The Fighting Irish look to be a good matchup for both teams.
Let's explore the matchups for both Alabama-Notre Dame and Georgia-Notre Dame:
Alabama is still arguably the best team in all of college football. Their one loss, to Texas A&M, was primarily the result of potential Heisman winner Johnny Manziel having the game of his life. It was also due to an uncharacteristic three turnovers by the offense—two interceptions by AJ McCarron and a late fumble by T.J. Yeldon.
If Notre Dame wants to defeat the Crimson Tide, it will have to figure out how to force the Alabama offense into multiple turnovers. Veteran middle linebacker and Heisman candidate in his own right Manti Te'o will have to lead the Fighting Irish to stuff the Tide's first three or four drives.
From that point, Notre Dame can play a full ball-control offense and turn the game into a defensive stand-off. In that respect, Notre Dame can hang with any team in the country. In Notre Dame's worst defensive performance, they allowed 26 points last week to the Pittsburgh Panthers—and that was in triple overtime.
If they can hold all other offenses to 17 points or fewer, it will be intriguing to see how few they can hold Alabama to.
Georgia winning the SEC title this year would be amazing for the Bulldog program. That it would propel them into the national title game is an achievement that can't be understated, especially when you look at how they lost to South Carolina.
The Gamecocks jumped all over the Bulldogs early, building a 21-0 lead. Georgia was unable to pry its way back and lost, 35-7. It will be interesting to see if the Bulldogs can continue the recent momentum they have built in taking care of subpar opponents like Mississippi and Auburn.
If they can beat Georgia Tech at home and Alabama in Atlanta, they will have gone through one of the toughest paths to a championship game of any team in recent years. However, Notre Dame has the defense that can hold the Georgia offense to another seven-point output.
Louis Nix is an excellent anchor in the middle, and if he can create interior pressure as well as holding the line against Georgia's running game, Notre Dame could leave Miami with a national championship.
If they can't, then Georgia could unleash its freshman running back combo dubbed "Gurshall" and win it's first national title since 1980. The biggest irony of the day is that it's opening day for duck season in the state of Georgia, and as my friend Clinton stated:
The best duck kill on opening day for Georgia residents occurred tonight in Oregon.—Clinton Brannen (@ClintonBrannen) November 18, 2012
If Georgia can get through the Yellow Jackets and the Crimson Tide, they would be the toughest matchup for Notre Dame.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek, runs the NFL Draft Website ScarDraft.com and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!