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January 6, 2013The TideSports.com staff make their predictions for BCS National Championship Game between Alabama and Notre Dame.
Notre Dame 20
Notre Dame's close calls in the regular season don't matter now. The Fighting Irish are undefeated and ranked No. 1, and since they know how to win close games they won't be intimidated by Alabama. For Alabama to win, it will have to rely on its offensive line to be more physical and to dominate. Running backs Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon need to be romping and stomping the way they did against Georgia. AJ McCarron has to be as accurate as he was in last year's BCS title game.
Notre Dame 9
Like the LSU game last year, look for Alabama to need four quarters to put the game completely on ice. Notre Dame's defense is simply too good not to keep things tight. But ultimately, the Fighting Irish's inability to sustain offense will be its undoing. Particularly if Alabama's red zone defense forces field goal tries.
Notre Dame 16
Anyone who picks against Notre Dame, it seems, risks being branded as someone who "doesn't respect" the Fighting Irish. To the contrary. Alabama has won its last two BCS titles by 16 and 21 points. Notre Dame will keep it respectable. But Alabama will hoist the crystal football.
Notre Dame 7
I among those who thinks Notre Dame is nowhere close to be the best team in the country, and I don't think the Fighting Irish can win this game. That defense, however, is for real, so don't expect a blowout. Most of Everett Golson's passes look like they should be intercepted but somehow end up in the right hands. I wouldn't except that to continue given that Nick Saban has had five weeks to prepare. Unless Tyler Eifert has a big game, I don't see the Irish being able to go downfield.
Notre Dame 13
It seems appropriate that two historic powers in college football will settle things with an old-school approach. The key to victory still revolves around which team imposes its will at the line of scrimmage. When the Crimson Tide needed its offensive line to take control against Georgia it responded. If Barrett Jones is healthy and the line can open things early for Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon then Amari Cooper becomes an even more dangerous threat.
Notre Dame 17
When you look at Notre Dame's defense the number that sticks out is 2, as in number of rushing touchdowns allowed by the Fighting Irish this season. That says a lot about what kind of defense Alabama is going up against tonight. The simply keys for Alabama to win is effectively running the ball and containing Notre Dame quarterback Elverett Golson. Do that and Alabama has championship No. 15, don't and it's the Fighting Irish hoisting the crystal trophy.
Notre Dame 20
I've about worn out a coin, flipping it over and over, never really satisfied with the pick. Alabama has been a 9- to 10-point favorite since the day the pairing was decided. I don't see that. Alabama has stumbled at the start of a couple of big games, and if that happens tonight it may be lights out. A clean start is necessary. The defense has to force Notre Dame into some three-and-out series so they won't be too tired late in the game. And the offense has to click, or else...
Notre Dame 24,
Call it a charmed season, call it the breaks falling your way or call it plain luck. Regardless of how you label it, Notre Dame is in the midst of it. From the Stanford game to Pittsburgh, the Fighting Irish has cashed in some remarkable, improbable wins. That's why I'm taking Notre Dame. Sometimes a team just has a charmed season.
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