The BCS National Championship Game will feature the two most dominant defenses in the country, and both are deserving participants in college football’s grand finale.
Alabama and Notre Dame have a vast amount of history, but in recent years, the Crimson Tide are the established power. Meanwhile, the Fighting Irish are the up-and-comers.
With many of the nation’s top talents—both on the field and on the sidelines—there is no shortage of interesting angles from which this game can be viewed.
Here are the top storylines leading up to this year’s battle for college football supremacy.
Miami’s Larry Coker, Florida State’s Bobby Bowden and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops have all led teams to the national championship game on multiple occasions, while Florida’s Urban Meyer and Alabama’s Nick Saban have each won two titles in a three-year span.
Saban is already the first coach ever to win the game with two different schools, and he will take another step into history with a victory tonight. If Alabama wins, it will become the only school ever to win the BCS National Championship three times.
This will cement Saban’s legendary status, and it will cause the word “dynasty” to appear in headlines across the country.
The top storyline from this game will be Alabama’s stretch of dominance, and whether or not it can continue.
Notre Dame’s 10.3 points allowed per game was the lowest mark in the nation, but Alabama ranked second with 10.7 points allowed per game.
With stars like Manti Te’o and Stephon Tuitt lining up for the Irish, and top talents like Dee Milliner and C.J. Mosley ready to go for the Tide, each offense will need to claw and fight for every single yard.
Each defense will have to do more than just allow low yardage totals. Both coaching staffs will be expecting their stars to create turnovers.
This game will be decided on defense, and every pundit will be talking about which unit they believe will make more plays.
Is Brian Kelly the Next Great Notre Dame Coach?
Saban’s credentials are beyond reproach, but Brian Kelly still has plenty to prove to people in South Bend. A victory tonight will go a long way towards solidifying his status as the next Fighting Irish coaching star.
As ESPN notes, winning a title in his third season will put Kelly in the company of names like Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Lou Holtz.
With that being said, Auburn’s recent decision to part ways with Gene Chizik two years after the Tigers won a national championship shows how quickly a school can turn on its coach. If Kelly does not win in this game, it will make it even easier for the Irish to move on if the school goes through a stretch of irrelevancy.
This game will be a telling sign as to whether or not Notre Dame will be a solid team going forward, or if it will be a perennial national championship contender.