The BCS title game will feature some of the best players and, as a result, best match-ups in the country: Eddie Lacy vs. Manti Te’o, Barrett Jones vs. Stephon Tuitt, Dee Milliner vs. Tyler Eifert.
The winner of the crystal trophy on Monday night will be the team that controls the line of scrimmage, something both Notre Dame and Bama have been known for in 2013. The Alabama offensive line has paved the way for two 1,000 yard rushers. Notre Dame’s goal-line defense has become legendary.
It starts upfront with left tackle Cyrus Kouandijo and left guard Chance Warmack neutralizing the Irish’s Stephon Tuitt. Tuitt is arguably the best player on Notre Dame’s defense, so taking him out is a must.
Alabama has already faced two of the best defensive ends in the country in LSU’s Sam Montgomery and Kevin Minter. They gave the Tide fits but couldn’t make the big play or rattle AJ McCarron enough to win. This is a key for Alabama because they have faced the best and defeated the best, so they have confidence and knowledge to do it again.
Heisman trophy finalist Manti Te’o is another brick in Notre Dame’s defensive wall. He is a turnover machine, so keeping him in check is a must. If Te’o can’t force an interception from one of the most efficient passers in the game, all hope may be lost for the Irish.
The Crimson Tides offense rediscovered its identity against Georgia, when they manhandled the Bulldogs for 350 yards rushing. It is going to take a similar intensity to dominate a similar defense in the Irish. If Alabama can establish a punishing ground game then McCarron can put the knife in Notre Dame’s heart with play-action passes.
Notre Dame versus Alabama is going to be a slugfest, but it all comes down to who can block and tackle the best.
We all know who has the edge there.