The final chapter of this tremendous college football season is here.
Tonight, #1 Notre Dame will face off against #2 Alabama in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game for the right to be called the best in college football this season.
This national championship game is one of the most anticipated title games in recent history as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Alabama Crimson Tide will look to add another championship to their already illustrious histories.
As for how tonight’s game will play out? That remains to be seen but here is my prediction.
Despite Notre Dame’s number one ranking, they have an extremely difficult task ahead of them against the Crimson Tide.
Alabama is arguably the best team in college football so far this season if rankings are disregarded as they have one of the best defenses in college football, only allowing 10.7 PPG on the season while facing some of the best offenses in the country in the SEC. In addition, the Crimson Tide’s offense is one of best in the nation as well as they averaged 38.4 PPG this season.
However, Alabama’s pedigree on both sides of the ball against a Notre Dame Fighting Irish team that boasts the best scoring defense in the country, allowing only 10.3 PPG on the season. The Irish’s defense centers around linebacker Manti Te’o, whose 101 tackle, 7 interception campaign was good enough for the senior to become a Heisman Trophy semifinalist this season. With Te’o and an excellent defensive line headlining the best defense in the nation, the Irish may be able to hold Alabama’s offense in check in comparison to the Crimson Tide’s usual performances.
The Crimson Tide do not really have any glaring weaknesses except one – one that could play a major factor tonight.
Alabama had difficulties containing running quarterbacks this year, most notably against Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Manziel threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for another 92 yards as he carried the Aggies to an upset victory over the Crimson Tide in November. Manziel’s performance catapulted the freshman quarterback into Heisman contention, an award he eventually won at the conclusion of the regular season.
While he certainly doesn’t garner national headlines as much as Manziel, Notre Dame freshman signal caller Everett Golson is one of the better dual threat quarterbacks in the country.
While Golson prefers to be more of a pocket passer, he is certainly capable of running when needed as he has amassed 305 yards and five touchdowns on the ground this season.
Golson also has many weapons at his disposal in the passing game, a notable being tight end Tyler Eifert. Eifert has established himself as one of the best tight ends in the country, only behind UCLA’s Joseph Fauria and Stanford’s Zach Ertz and a dependable target for Golson, particularly in the redzone, en route to a 624 yard and four touchdown season.
Expect Eifert to make an impact tonight and he could be the x-factor for the Fighting Irish.
Ultimately though, Alabama is just too strong as a whole and I see the Crimson Tide ending the night victorious in an hard-fought defensive battle, 17-14.
The 2013 BCS National Championship starts at 5:30 PM PT/8:30 PM ET on ESPN.