The BCS National Championship game will bring two of the most storied programs in college football history together in Miami, marking the first meeting in the BCS era between these two schools.
A loss for either team is going to hurt the immediate image of the program, but neither team would fall far from their elite status. A blowout loss for either team would change the game slightly.
Alabama is the favorite to walk away with the crystal ball, but Notre Dame has the Associated Press coach of the year on the sideline in Brian Kelly, and a strategy that led to an undefeated season.
Both teams are at the top of their games, bringing in national attention and luring the top talent in the country. A loss won’t change the ball that is already rolling at Mach speed—even a blowout loss.
What a Blowout Means to Alabama
The Crimson Tide have played very well under Nick Saban with no major blowout losses coming in his tenure.
While Alabama and Nick Saban are at the top of the country and SEC right now, a blowout loss to Notre Dame would shift that perception. The Tide would still be considered to be an elite program, but one that struggled to win the big game in 2012.
The Tide have an elite and experienced offensive line, a stacked backfield and veteran quarterback. They have the best defensive unit in the country. A loss would lead to questions about how this team prepared for this game, and it would lead to more speculation about a Nick Saban jump to the NFL.
Under the guidance of Saban this is a methodical team. There have been a few unexpected hiccups through the years—this year’s loss to Texas A&M to name one—but overall they are typically well prepared and ready to play.
A huge loss would be uncharacteristic, but Alabama would still be considered a top program and start the 2013 season in the Top 10.
What a Blowout Means to Notre Dame
Notre Dame is a much more fragile program than Alabama right now. Brian Kelly has this team heading in the direction of championships, but a blowout loss would prove to the country that the Irish aren’t at that level just yet.
It would also lead to this team losing some steam on the national circuit heading into the 2013 season. There wouldn’t be a dramatic drop in recruiting or national love, but the Irish would still be looked at as a historic program that couldn’t finish the big game.
Losing is one thing, and in reality doesn’t hurt this program very much. A blowout makes them look just as lucky as the detractors have been saying they are all season.
The Irish have been lucky at times, but they have earned their right to this game appearance. A huge loss would force the accomplishments of 2012 to get lost in the shuffle.
Both teams would lose face with a blowout, but they will still be nationally elite programs to close 2012. Who heads into 2013 on top will be determined by this performance, helping these teams rise and fall virtually overnight.
Alabama has more to lose, but Notre Dame needs this game to stay close to earn the respect this season should bring.