No shame in hiding that I'm an Alabama alum, therefore it won't be shocking who I will be pulling for in Monday night's BCS National Championship. However, I do like to go through all the previews the various sites publish online and weigh all the numbers.
Below are all the facts. You determine who is more impressive. Will it be Alabama's third title in four years? Or is Notre Dame a rejuvenated program headed towards destiny?
Who's your pick?
Reasons Alabama will win:
- Alabama is second to Notre Dame with 10.7 points allowed a game, but first with 246 yards per contest.
- The Tide's deep defense recorded 34 sacks, 81 tackles for loss and 17 interceptions.
- Alabama's 38.5 points per game are 15th in the FBS. Led by McCarron (26 touchdowns, three interceptions, 173.1 passer rating).
- Alabama's running attack features two 1,000 rushers in Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon, who both ran for 27 TDs combined.
- Alabama topped 400 yards 10 times and 500 yards four times.
- "McCarron, who ranks second nationally in pass efficiency, was the breakout star of last year's BCS title game, so quarterback is viewed as one of the Tide's biggest advantages this year. And while his interception in the end zone sealed Alabama's loss to Texas A&M, he threw the game-winning touchdowns against LSU and Georgia." – Steward Mandel, S.I.
- "The Crimson Tide rank second in the country in Passing S&P+, first on passing downs." – Bill Connelly, SB Nation
- The Tide are in their third BCS championship in four years. That experience is invaluable.
- Head Coach Nick Saban is 3-0 in BCS championship games.
- "Alabama has a significant edge in the return game, with both Cyrus Jones on kickoffs (25.0-yard average) and Christion Jones on punts (10.6-yard average, plus a 99-yard kickoff return for a score against Ole Miss). Notre Dame averages fewer than 3 yards per punt return. Tide kicker Jeremy Shelley is 11-for-11 on field goals shorter than 40 yards. Speaking of which, here's something else to think about: Alabama has scored 65 touchdowns and 15 field goals. Notre Dame has scored 36 touchdowns and 24 field goals." – Ivan Maisel, ESPN
- Fourth quarter control: "Against its 12 FBS opponents, Alabama held the ball in the fourth quarter for an average of nearly nine minutes. Lacy and Yeldon are harder to tackle in the fourth quarter than in the first." – Ivan Maisel, ESPN
Reasons Notre Dame will win:
- Defense is ranked No. 1 in the country in scoring defense, TD defense and red zone TD percentage
- "Notre Dame has given up the lowest percentage of red zone touchdowns (24.2) of any FBS team in the past nine seasons. The Irish have forced almost as many turnovers in the red zone (five) as they've given up touchdowns (eight)." – Gene Wojciechowski, ESPN
- Two of the three INTs thrown by Bama QB A.J. McCarron this season were goal-to-go attempts.
- Notre Dame led the country with 10.3 points allowed per game and was sixth with 288.1 yards.
- Notre Dame is averaging 202.5 rushing yards.
- "So many of their defensive stats are staggering, including the fact that just 6.9 percent of opponents' drives ended in touchdowns — a lower number than even Alabama in 2011." – Stewart Mandel, S.I.
- Alabama's All-American Center, Barrett Jones, was still in a walking boot as late as Thursday. QB A.J. McCarron is also nursing a hand injury.
- In 14 years of the BCS, no team has won two consecutive championships. FSU in 2000, Miami in '02 and USC in '05 all went to their second championship game in a row, only to be upset in their attempt to repeat.
- Notre Dame has Manti Te'o, the inside linebacker who finished second in the Heisman vote.
- The Irish are trying to win their first national championship in 24 years when they beat West Virginia in the 1988 Fiesta Bowl.
- Alabama is attempting to become the first team in college football history to win three undisputed titles in four seasons. The last team to win three shared championships in that time-span was Notre Dame from 1946-49.
- These teams have each won eight AP national titles, more than any other program.
Both teams list 24 upperclassmen on their rosters.
Stats courtesy of ESPN.com, Yahoo!Sports, AP, SI/CNN.com, SBNation