The 2013 Discover BCS National Championship Game features the consensus top two teams in the land and two of the most storied and popular programs in college football history in the 2nd ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1) Champions of the SEC and the top-ranked Fighting Irish of Notre Dame (12-0). The entire season comes down to one game Monday night (8:30pm ET) at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, FL as Head Coaches Nick Saban of Alabama, who is seeking his third national title in the last four years with the Crimson Tide, and Brian Kelly of Notre Dame who seeks to win his first title in his third season in South Bend.
The Alabama offense is a balanced attack led by efficient, second-year starter A.J. McCarron (2,669 yards passing, 26 TDs, 3 INTs) at quarterback. The Crimson Tide rank 14th among FBS teams in scoring with 38.5 points per game and 37th in total offense with 439.9 yards per game. Defense has carried the Crimson Tide throughout Saban’s reign, and this season is no exception as Alabama ranks 2nd in the nation (behind Notre Dame) in points allowed with 10.7 per game and 1st in total defense with 246 YPG allowed.
The Notre Dame offense ranks 77th among all FBS teams with 26.8 PPG scored and 49th in total offense with 421.3 YPG. Quarterback Everett Golson threw for 2,135 yards with 11 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in his first season as a starter for the Fighting Irish. The strength of the offense is a running game that utilizes Theo Riddick, George Atkinson and others to average 202.5 YPG on the ground, the 29th best total in the country. The Irish defense is led by linebacker and Heisman Trophy runner-up Manti Te’o, the heart and soul of a unit that ranks 1st among FBS teams in points allowed with 10.3 per game and 6th in total defense with 286.8 YPG allowed.
Alabama vs. Notre Dame Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Alabama Crimson Tide -10
@ Notre Dame Fighting Irish +10
Over 41 (-110)
Under 41 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv (click here to get a $250 free bet for the big game)
Alabama vs. Notre Dame Pick:
Alabama is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 bowl games, 104 ATS in their last 5 games overall and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games against teams with a winning record. The Fighting Irish are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games against teams with a winning record. The over is 7-1 in Alabama’s last 7 neutral site games, 5-1 in their last 6 bowl games and 5-2 in their last 7 games following an ATS loss. The under is 20-5-1 in ND’s last 26 games on grass, 34-16-1 in their last 51 games against winning teams and 36-17-2 in their last 55gmaes overall.
Notre Dame has won six games by nine or fewer points this season, and they will field a rested and rejuvenated defense for this game after a 44-day break between this game and the USC game to end the regular season. Te’o, the Maxwell Award winner as the college football player of the year, lead a unit the can bring pressure against Alabama with lineman Stephon Tuitt (12 sacks, 13 tackles for loss), Karpron Lewis-Moore (6 sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss) and 326 pound nose tackle Louis Nix. The Irish have an SEC-type defense that can attack the massive Alabama offensive line and keep them in the game until the end. ND must stop the powerful Alabama running game, which pounded out a season-high 350 yards against Georgia in the Sec Championship Game.
The key on offense for Notre Dame is the receiving skills of running back Theo Riddick, a former wide out and tight end Tyler Eifert, an All-American. Riddick has the speed to attack the slower Alabama linebackers and create plays in the passing game, and Eifert is a match up nightmare for corners who he can out-muscle and out jump, and linebackers who he can outrun. ND should be able to slow down the Alabama running game just enough with their tough front 7 and create enough plays with mismatches in passing game to keep this game close to the end and possibly even pull off the upset and end the SEC’s championship dynasty. Take Notre Dame and the points in this game.
PICK = Notre Dame +10 <– click for $250 free bet at Bovada