College football history gets a dream matchup in 2013 as the storied programs of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Alabama Crimson Tide meet in the BCS National Championship game in Miami on Monday.
The No. 1 Fighting Irish led by linebacker and Heisman finalist Manti Te'o eye a perfect season against Nick Saban's No. 2 Crimson Tide squad that at one point looked like they'd blown their chance for a second national championship appearance in a row. A loss to Texas A&M and Heisman winner Johnny Manziel on Nov. 10 is the only scuff on Alabama's schedule, but the Crimson Tide (12-1) needed losses by Oregon and Kansas State in the next week to get back to the title game.
Now, they meet Brian Kelly's team that looked like a longshot to make the national title game from the very start. Notre Dame (12-0) beat four ranked teams during the season, survived a three-overtime game against Pittsburgh and handled preseason No. 1 USC in the final week to find itself in the BCS title game. The Fighting Irish seek their first championship in 24 years.
The battle in this one starts up front.
The Irish must be able to protect quarterback Everett Golson and get some sort of a run game going against an Alabama defense that last year shut out LSU in the championship game. Notre Dame blogger Eric Murtaugh calls the matchup between Irish nose tackle Louis Nix III and Alabama center Barrett Jones the "game within the game."
Matt Dover of Roll Bama Roll breaks down the two offensive lines, and while it's key that Notre Dame's must be on point, it's Alabama's that has more NFL talent.
Game date and time
Jan. 7, 8:30 p.m. ET
Sun Life Stadium, Miami.
Alabama opened as 8.5-point favorites but the spread extended to 9.5 to 10 points.
ESPN / ESPN3D
ESPN3 (Check viewing map to see blacked out areas)
Alabama: ESPN Radio (click here for affiliates)
Notre Dame: IMG Radio Network (select affiliates)
Last year’s game
The Alabama Crimson Tide shut out the LSU Tigers, 21-0, in the 2012 BCS Championship in New Orleans.
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