After weeks of hype and build up we have finally arrived at championship Monday. The undefeated Notre Dame Fighting Irish take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in one of the most anticipated match-ups in years. Notre Dame, despite being one of the most followed schools in NCAA Football history, finds themselves attempting to win their first title since 1989. Alabama, on the other hand, has been a constant in the big game and looks to win its 2nd consecutive BCS title and the third one in four years.
As Nick Saban and company attempt to win their third championship since 2009, Alabama has every reason to feel good about this game tonight. They certainly have the experience edge in big games, including recent BCS Championships last year and in 2010. The Crimson Tide has two running backs who have rushed for 1,000+ yards this season in Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon, a championship tested QB in AJ McCarron, and defense that features five returning starters from last year's BCS championship team. Despite having a dominant defense, which has been an NFL family as of late, Heisman winner Johnny "Football" Manziel proved that this defense of Alabama can be exposed.
If the Irish are going to win this game, they'll need two things. First, freshman QB Everett Golson needs to bring his A-game. It's obvious that Golson is not like John 'Johnny Football' Manziel. However, like Manziel, he does have the ability to be a dual threat being able to run the ball effectively and provide the crucial pass when the time arises. If Golson makes any inadequate throws or fumble the football at inopportune times then the undefeated Irish will not stand a chance. But if he can have a similar performance like Manizel did against Alabama earlier this year than, On the defensive side, the Fighting Irish need an inspirational showing from their defense leader, Heisman finalist LB Manti Te'o. He needs to show why he was the best defensive player in college football and a Heisman finalist. Not to mention the Irish front seven need to be able to shut down the Yeldon-Lacy duo and put significant pressure on McCarron throughout the entire game.
The Irish have showed incredible heart all season long, never giving up or allowing the hype of being ranked get to them. Some would argue there is an element of destiny that has been present for the Irish all season long. Even if Notre Dame finds themselves trailing in the 4th quarter, they should not fret. We saw a finish comparable to USC and Texas back in 2005, when Vince Young brought the Long Horns back with a 4th quarter for the ages. Not to mention that the Irish had many comeback victories against Stanford, BYU, and Pittsburgh this season. So keep your hands off of the remote tonight folks, you don't want to be the guy who gave up on a classic game.
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