This year's BCS National Championship is epic.  The Notre Dame Fighting Irish taking on the Alabama Crimson Tide Monday night at 7 on ESPN.  Both storied programs rich with football tradition.

The Irish with 13 recognized national championships and legendary coaches Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, (born in Winner) Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Lou Holtz.

The Alabama Crimson Tide with 14 recognized national championships and legendary coaches Wallace Wade, Frank Thomas, Paul "Bear" Bryant and Gene Stallings.

For the Fighting Irish, this season awoke the echoes of past glory.  Those echoes are now screaming.  Notre Dame has not been a national champion since 1988 under Lou Holtz.   With Coach Brian Kelly, and a perfect season 12-0 record, they are on the brink of greatness.  Just one more win for the Gipper.

After a heartbreaking loss to Texas A&M, the only loss of the season, Coach Nick Saban is ready to get it done and vindicate the Tide and the SEC.

For the Irish who are 9.5 point underdogs, they are coming into the game with a level of comfort.  They do not mind playing the position of underdog.  They have played the part and have played it well against Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Stanford and USC.

To win against Alabama, Notre Dame needs to have several things happen.  First, the defense needs to play as they have all season.  Manti T'eo needs to have some sacks on 'Bama quarterback A.J. McCarron.  A couple of interceptions wouldn't hurt either.  They need to stop Alabama from advancing the ball.  They need to keep the score low.  They have had huge goal line stands this year against Stanford and Pitt.  The nation's top defense needs to do it again to win.

Offensively, the Irish need to grind it out against a Tide defense laden with NFL talent.  The Irish need to move the ball and put together long drives that result in points.  Everett Golson, sophomore quarterback, needs to be able to tuck and run when there's no receiver open. He needs to take care of the football.  He cannot afford any fumbles or interceptions.  Theo Riddick needs to pick up yardage on the ground and score as well as burn time off of the clock.  When passing, Golson needs to find tight end Tyler Eiffert and create mismatches the entire game.  Kyle Brindza cannot miss one field goal for the Irish.

If the Irish play to their potential, I predict Notre Dame beats Alabama 17 to 14 for the national championship.  Who do you pick to win?


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