2013 BCS National Championship Preview

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This is what the NCAA is all about as the National Championship is here and the matchup is a dream of all football fans. It is not the new and exciting offences or the new rising schools that will face off on January 7th but instead a call back to the old days. When I say old days I mean OLD days as two of the oldest NCAA programs face off for the biggest bowl game of the year. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Alabama Crimson Tide are two of the most legendary and successful programs in the NCAA. The Irish are the most famous program in NCAA history with the Irish symbol one of the most recognizable symbols in sports. With movies like Rudy attached to Notre Dame they are a team that transcends college football fans. It is a team that has won 11 National Titles and has 7 Heisman Trophy winners. They are simply one of the biggest programs in the country if not the world as the Irish is well-known beyond the borders of the NCAA. Then there is the Alabama Crimson Tide who are possibly one of the only teams that can challenge the Irish for the best program ever. The Tide are from a place where “Roll Tide” is simply a greeting and can equal “Hello” on a daily basis. They have achieved this level of following through their long success on the field since being established in 1892. The Tide have a total of 14 National Titles including the 2011 National Title. If there is any team that can rival the Irish in terms of popularity it is the Tide as two legendary programs face off for the National Championship. Their history is not the only thing that makes these teams old school though as the way they play is old school football. Defence first is their philosophy with an injection of the passing game instead of the rushing game only. These two teams will battle it out this year as a dream matchup for many football fans is finally here with two of the biggest fan bases sure to make noise around the world as they watch the 2013 National Championship.

 

#1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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The Notre Dame Fighting Irish used to find their situation fairly familiar as they were generally at the top of the rankings for years. Since 1988 though the Irish have not won a National Championship and after that 1988 season they began to fall in the rankings. After Lou Holtz left the school in 1996 the Irish would begin a much larger fall as they would begin to become an afterthought in the NCAA. They quickly went from one of the best programs in the country to a once legendary program who cannot seem to get back to the top 25 let alone the top spot. The trend would continue and the Irish would become a team well-respected for their history and not the current program. After 12 years and three coaches the Irish would hire Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Brian Kelly in hopes that he would stop them from becoming irrelevant altogether. The first two years under Kelly the Irish would remain much the same as they usually were as they were good but not great and would not get to a BCS bowl game. Then came 2012 when the Irish looked to be in another growing season until the defence led by Manti Te’o would become a powerhouse and a redshirt freshman would lead the offence to do exactly what they needed to win. The Irish would go undefeated this year although many times they were close to losing games including a game against Stanford that many say they should have lost on the last play of the game. Still with some luck of the Irish and a lot of skill Notre Dame is in the BCS National Championship Game for the first time since the BCS was started. The Irish would look to their defence most of the year to win them games until Everett Golson could figure things out on offence. With Tommy Rees to back him up Golson would not finish every game but as the season continued Golson would become a much better decision maker. Now he will lead an offence that can hold their own in this game. Still the Defence is their strength as they love to create turnovers and are led by Heisman runner-up Manti Te’o. With two good sides to the team the Irish are a good team that has a good chance at winning the National Championship this year. Their defence can shut down the Crimson Tide offence meaning they can slow down the Tide attack to give their offence a chance. The offence is the only big question though as Golson looked goo to end the season but he is a freshman in the biggest game of the year.

 

Storyline:
Return of the Irish
– The Fighting Irish are looking to get back to prominence after years of failing to be in a  major bowl and years of failing to get in the top of the ranking as they hope to become the powerhouse that they once knew

Player to Watch:
Manti Te’o, LB
– He finished the highest ranking for a solely defensive player in the Heisman Trophy voting and this senior will be playing on Sundays next year as he is the emotional and physical leader of a great defence

How They Win:
K.I.S.S. for Golson
– Keep It Simple Stupid for redshirt Freshman Everett Golson as he has struggled during the season and if he over thinks things he will give the Tide too many opportunities to make plays that will end any hope of an Irish National Champion

 

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide

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The Alabama Crimson Tide are probably one of the few schools that can challenge Notre Dame for history and a lot of theirs is more recent. The Tide have a similar story to the Irish as they are one of the oldest programs in the NCAA and had their share of success in the past. They would enjoy a long period of dominance when Paul “Bear” Bryant would join the team in 1958 and lead them to multiple National Championships throughout the 1960s and 1970s. They would try to replace Bryant when he retired in 1982 but would never get back to the dominance that they enjoyed under Bryant. They would establish a pattern for the program as they would be a good team but never quite good enough to win a National Championship, except their win in 1992 under Gene Stallings. Then enter Nick Saban who would enter the college ranks once again after two years in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins. Saban would have an immediate impact as he would bring the program back to relevance in his first few years. Under Saban the team has become one of the best programs in the nation once again naturally leading to thoughts of Bear Bryant. Those thoughts have become more and more common within the last three years as the Tide have won two of the last three national championships. They have led the charge for the SEC in NCAA Football and are one of the most feared teams in college football. In 2012 the tide would begin the season ranked #2 but would not stay their long as they would almost immediately move into the #1 spot. They stayed there all season until Johnny Manziel came in and handed them their first and only loss of the season. Their title hopes shrunk but would come springing back when the Kansas State Wildcats and Oregon Ducks would lose in the next week launching them into the #2 spot. They would stay there fending off the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship to earn a spot in the National Championship. The Tide are pretty easy to figure out as they are about defence all the way as Saban buys in to the “defence wins championships” mentality. The Tide are the best defence in the NCAA, they are ranked second in only one category of which the Irish lead. They have used this attitude to win games by essentially suffocating any and all offences that they have faced, besides Manziel and Texas A&M. This year the Tide will also add a good offence led by AJ McCarron and Eddie Lacey that prefers balance to any one part of the offence. The Tide are one of the most balanced teams in the NCAA in all aspects as they can run the ball and throw the ball while their defence keeps everyone in check. They play old man football in the SEC and that type of football is winning football with the Tide at the top of that list. The Tide will be fine on defence but again the question will be what their offence can do against the Irish defence. AJ McCarron is a good QB but he is not one of the best in the NCAA meaning he could be shut down by a good Irish defence.

 

Storyline:
The Dynasty
– If the Tide can win that would make it three National Championships in four years making the Tide a true dynasty putting them among the great teams of the past and putting Nick Saban in the conversation for best college coach

Player to Watch:
Eddie Lacey, RB
– With old school football comes a good running game and Eddie Lacey will be the leader of this running game for the tide as he will need to do what he always does in order to keep the Tide balanced on offence

How They Win:
Play Alabama Football
– The Tide are very good at what they do as they play great defence and balanced offence only getting what they need to win and this has been a winning strategy in the past which means there is not much that is needed to change

 

National Championship:
Notre Dame Fighting Irish 13 – 10 Alabama Crimson Tide
– The Tide are a very good team and this game will not be easy for any team as the defences will be on full display in this game but there is something about the way that the Irish season is going and with that the Irish will win the game ending the SEC streak and getting back to prominence in the NCAA

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