Take a closer look at the players who are expected to have a major impact when the Tide and the Irish take the field in Miami.
ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Height: 6-4 Weight: 210 Class: Junior
Key Stat: McCarron has thrown 26 touchdown passes this season with just three interceptions. He has also completed better than two-thirds of his pass attempts and averaged almost 14 yards per completion.
Buzz: McCarron's coming-out party last season was at the BCS National Championship Game, where he won MVP honors for directing the Crimson Tide to victory over LSU. McCarron has only gotten better since then, and should have the poise to handle this big game.
Position: Wide receiver
Height: 6-1 Weight: 198 Class: Freshman
Key Stat: Cooper has caught 53 passes, more than twice as many as any other receiver on the Alabama roster, and has amassed 895 receiving yards with nine touchdown receptions.
Buzz: Cooper has been a breakout talent as a freshman, and has topped the 100-yard receiving mark in three of his last four games - with only two catches for 50 yards in a shortened appearance against Western Carolina. Cooper has emerged not only as a big-play threat, but also as a big-game threat.
Height: 6-2 Weight: 232 Class: Junior
Key Stat: Mosley is Alabama's leading tackler with 99 total stops, which includes seven tackles behind the opponents' line of scrimmage. He also had two interceptions and two quarterback hurries, and made the game-sealing play in the SEC Championship Game when he tipped a pass on Georgia's last play.
Buzz: Mosley is a versatile competitor who can make an impact as a run stopper, as a pass rusher or in pass coverage. He is a mainstay in Alabama's defense no matter what package is on the field.
NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH
Height: 6-0 Weight: 185 Class: Freshman
Key Stat: Golson has completed 166 of 282 pass attempts for 2,135 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also has more than 300 rushing yards.
Buzz: Golson has grown over the course of the season as a redshirt freshman starting for the first time. His mobility allows him to buy time to find the open receiver and he has a knack for making plays in important situation. Golson doesn't have an abundance of experience, but he is battle testsed.
Position: Running back
Height: 5-11 Weight: 200 Class: Senior
Key Stat: Riddick has rushed for 880 yards, averaging 4.9 yards per carry with five touchdowns. He has gained 73.3 yards per game on the ground, and also caught 35 passes at an average of better than 10 yards per catch.
Buzz: Riddick usually works in tandem with Cierre Wood in a by-committee rushing approach. Riddick has been a workhorse in some of the bigger games for the Fighting Irish, and he's the guy Notre Dame turns to go get the tough yards. Alabama's run defense will test Riddick and the Fighting Irish ground game.
Height: 6-2 Weight: 255 Class: Senior
Key Stat: Te'o has intercepted seven passes this season, an enormous number for a linebacker. He also has 103 total tackles and has defended 11 passes, breaking up four. Te'o also has four quarterback hurries as a pass rusher and has recovered a pair of fumbles.
Buzz: Te'o is not only Notre Dame's best defender, he is the heart and soul of the team. He makes big plays and is equally effective defending the pass and the run. His effectiveness will dictate how well Notre Dame's defense performs.