After a season that saw teams put up major points all over the nation, the college football world is now getting the BCS Championship Game it so desperately needs. We have spent months watching teams run past defenses like they were not on the field, and now we will get treated to teams that actually care about stopping the opposition.
It has been a roller coaster of a season as folks thought West Virginia and their lack of defense would have a shot at the title. Then Oregon became the team to beat with their point-a-minute offense and their "unstoppable" attack. However, when the dust settled, it was the defense that remained standing.
Unlike last year, this game is met with little controversy. There will be no rage against the rematch. There is no split decision over which teams deserve to be in the title game. Without a doubt, these two teams have earned their right to square off in Miami Gardens.
Thus, after a year of watching jitterbugs skit around the field and defensive personnel dive at ankles, we are now faced with a true heavyweight title fight. Two of the best front-sevens in college football taking on two of the most forceful rushing attacks in the game.
Alabama's Power-O versus Notre Dame's Heisman candidate linebacker. Notre Dame's power zone-read versus Nick Saban's monsters. Two teams that have had to play ugly football to get to where they are to end the season and that are unapologetic about it. Two teams that will stand in a ring for 60 minutes and not have the thought of avoiding contact cross their mind.
This is the game college football needs—not just from a ratings standpoint following last year's regional game, but from a philosophical reminder standpoint. Folks have seemed to forget that defense can help you win a title. As teams search for coaches it seems "score more points" and "be exciting" are the overwhelming goal.
Notre Dame and Alabama bring the first and second ranked scoring defenses in the nation into this game, respectively. The Tide and Irish also bring the first and sixth ranked total yardage units into the title match up. In short, these are two teams that rode great defenses to a title shot.
As college football faces what Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel calls a culture shift towards more points, this game is just what the doctor ordered. The fancy offenses and complex schemes will not be winning a title this year. Rather the title will be going home with a team that ran start to finish based upon defense.
Hopefully this heavyweight showdown will remind folks that there is more to football than just scoring a lot of points. The SEC Championship Game was a start, Georgia and Alabama truly slugged it out. Now, this January, Notre Dame and Alabama are going to put on a 60-minute show to remind fans that tough, physical football should not be a thing of the past.
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