Alabama's aspirations to repeat as national champions took a big hit when the team lost to Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M. However, the Crimson Tide are now back in the title hunt after stunning losses by Oregon and Kansas State over the weekend.
Notre Dame and Alabama are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the AP poll for the first time since 1967. The matchup of the two historic college football programs would be a battle for the ages. But if Alabama wants to hoist the crystal ball in Miami, the Tide should root for the struggling USC Trojans to upset the Irish next week so they can avoid the game all together.
Notre Dame's defense, led by senior and Heisman candidate Manti Te'o, is scary good. The Irish are currently tied for first with Alabama in scoring defense and are allowing just 288.3 yards of offense per game.
The athletic unit has also stifled opponents' running backs—something Alabama relies on heavily.
The Irish also have the talent to mirror the game plan that Texas A&M laid out in its win over Alabama: Take away Eddie Lacy and T.J Yeldon and force the Tide to beat you through the air.
AJ McCarron is good—his 21 touchdowns and only two interceptions are a testament to that—but he won't be the reason the Tide win. If anything, the savvy Notre Dame defense may prey on the junior quarterback.
The Aggies forced McCarron to throw 34 times, tying the highest total of his career. McCarron completed just 61.8 percent of those passes, and he threw his only two interceptions of the season.
It's a tall task to ask USC to take down the juggernaut that has become Notre Dame, though. The Trojans are fresh off a crushing loss to crosstown rival UCLA, and quarterback Matt Barkley reportedly left the Rose Bowl with his shoulder in a sling Saturday:
Report: Matt Barkley has separated right shoulder -- his throwing arm
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) November 18, 2012
A game between Alabama and Notre Dame would be the most hyped game of the millennium—and rightly so. However, the Tide would be better suited not having to face an Irish team in the midst of its best season in nearly a decade with the national championship up for grabs.
What do you think? Will both teams win their remaining games and meet in Miami? Should Alabama be worried about Notre Dame? Let us know in the comments below.
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