BCS National Title Game '11

BCS National Title Game '11
BCS National Championship 1/10/11 Oregon vs Auburn

Monday, January 7, 2013

January 7th- Discover BCS National Championship game prediction

Bowl Prediction total record: 20-14

Bowl Prediction analysis record: 6-4

Valero Alamo Bowl

Prediction: Texas 34, Oregon State 24
Result: Texas 31, Oregon State 27

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

Prediction: TCU 27, Michigan State 23
Result: Michigan State 17, TCU 16

Chick-fil-A Bowl

Prediction: LSU 34, Clemson 27
Result: Clemson 25, LSU 24

Outback Bowl

Prediction: South Carolina 32, Michigan 21
Result: South Carolina 33, Michigan 28

Capital One Bowl

Prediction: Georgia 37, Nebraska 27
Result: Georgia 45, Nebraska 31

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio

Prediction: Prediction: Wisconsin 28, Stanford 24
Result: Stanford 20, Wisconsin 14

Discover Orange Bowl

Prediction: Florida State 31, Northern Illinois 17
Result: Florida State 31, Northern Illinois 10

Allstate Sugar Bowl

Prediction: Florida 31, Louisville 13
Result: Louisville 33, Florida 23

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

Prediction: Oregon 41, Kansas State 30
Result: Oregon 35, Kansas State 17

AT&T Cotton Bowl

Prediction: Texas A&M 41, Oklahoma 33
Result: Texas A&M 41, Oklahoma 13

January 7, 2013

11. Discover BCS National Championship (Miami Gardens, FL)  8:30 PM ET ESPN
#1 Notre Dame vs #2 Alabama   

- The BCS National Championship is finally here. Tonight, two schools with rich history and tradition will fight for that crystal ball that every team set out for at the beginning of the season. It has come down to the No. 1 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the No. 2 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. When I think about this matchup, I cannot stop comparing it to the 2003 BCS National Championship Fiesta Bowl game that featured the Miami (FL) Hurricanes and the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Hurricanes were heavy favorites to win their second straight BCS National Championship. They had future NFL stars like wide receiver Andre Johnson, running back Willis McGahee, tight end Kellen Winslow II, and middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma. Alabama is the Miami (FL) team from the 2002-2003 season. The Ohio State Buckeyes came into the title game with wins they were barely able to squeak out. Notre Dame is the Ohio State team from the 2002-2003 season. The Buckeyes played close games with Cincinnati, Wisconsin, Penn State, and needed a fourth-and-one "Holy Buckeye" touchdown pass from Craig Krenzel to Michael Jenkins to win at Purdue. They also had an overtime victory at Illinois a week later, and a last second interception at home to beat rival Michigan to clinch a spot in the National Championship game. The Buckeyes relied on their physical defensive play to win ball games. Second year head coach Jim Tressel, at the time, was trying to bring Ohio State back into the national spotlight again. Third year head coach Brian Kelly is trying to do the same thing at Notre Dame right now.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are very much like the 2002 Ohio State Buckeyes. Notre Dame and Ohio State managed to have some luck on their side during the season and at times struggled offensively to score points. Ohio State's defense gave up an average of 12.2 points per game during the 2002 season and Notre Dame held their opponents this season to 10.3 points per game. It is going to be interesting to see if the Irish can do what the Buckeyes did just a decade ago.

Season in review:

Pictured above: (5) LB Manti Te'o and (48) LB Dan Fox
Source: NY Times 
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are, as mentioned above, a team that relies heavily on their defense. Not a lot of analysts were picking the Irish to do anything this season. The quarterback situation was a mystery and no one knew if it would be sophomore Everett Golson or junior Tommy Rees. No one really knew what the Irish defense was capable of either. The Irish started the season off with a 50-10 blowout win over Army in Dublin, Ireland. In their second game, the Irish relied on their physical defense to knock off Purdue in a very close game that came down to a game-winning field goal. When the nation really started to find out what this team was made of was when the Irish went into East Lansing. The Irish defense held Michigan State and physical running back Le'Veon Bell to just three points in a 20-3 win. The ferocious Irish defense continued into the next week as they converted six turnovers in a 13-6 win over rival Michigan. That following week, the Irish had their last easy victory for a while as they defeated Miami (FL) 41-3 in Chicago. The next four games against Stanford, BYU, Oklahoma, and Pittsburgh are what defined this team's season. Notre Dame was down by three against Stanford with 20 seconds remaining in the game, but were able to come down the field with backup quarterback Tommy Reese and get a field goal to knot the game up at 13. In overtime, The Irish defense had a goal line stand for the ages, as they held the Stanford offense and running back Stepfan Taylor out of the endzone for three straight plays on the goal line to get the 20-13 victory. The Irish continued into the next week with a tough 17-14 victory over BYU. They then won a huge game at Oklahoma 30-13. The Oklahoma game is where linebacker Manti Te'o began his Heisman campaign and where quarterback Everett Golson had his coming out party. The last real test for this team was when the Irish needed to rely on luck to defeat Pittsburgh 29-26 in triple overtime. The Irish were down 20-6 going into the fourth quarter, but again came back and tied the game with two minutes left in regulation. In overtime, Pittsburgh had a chance to win, but was not able to convert a game-winning field goal. Golson then snuck his way into the end zone on a quarterback sneak in the third overtime to give the Irish a 29-26 win. After this game, the Irish won their next two games convincingly against Boston College and Wake Forest. The Irish then finished up the regular season with a 22-13 win over USC and had another huge goal line stand. This win guaranteed the Irish a spot in the BCS National Championship game.

Pictured above: quarterback AJ McCarron
Source: ESPN 
On the other hand, the Alabama Crimson Tide came into this season with very high expectations after coming off of their second title in three years. The Crimson Tide opened their season with a 41-14 blowout win over Michigan in Arlington. The Crimson Tide then blew out Western Kentucky, Arkansas, Florida Atlantic, Ole Miss, Missouri, Tennessee, and Mississippi State. The Crimson Tide outscored their first eight opponents 325 to 65. It wasn't until early November where the Crimson Tide were faced with any sort of challenge. The Crimson Tide were again in another tussle with LSU in Death Valley. LSU led 17-14 until the Crimson Tide made their way down the field with 50 seconds remaining in the game. Quarterback AJ McCarron threw a touchdown pass to running back T.J. Yeldon to get the 21-17 victory. That next week though, the Crimson Tide found themselves in a very similar situation from last season. Texas A&M and Heisman Trophy winner freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel came into Tuscaloosa and put on one of the best performances of the season. Texas A&M was able to hold off a late surge from the Crimson Tide when AJ McCarron's fourth down pass from the Texas A&M two-yard line was intercepted by Deshazor Everett to seal the 29-24 victory. The Crimson Tide dropped out of the BCS National Championship picture, but a week later were let back in when No. 1 Kansas State and No. 2 Oregon were both upset. Alabama blew out Western Carolina and Auburn 49-0 and clinched a birth in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta. The Crimson Tide battled back against Georgia in the fourth quarter after trailing 21-10 half way through the third quarter. It was again AJ McCarron who threw another game winning touchdown pass to take the late lead. This time it was to freshman wide receiver Amari Cooper on a 45-yard pass. The Crimson Tide defense then stopped Georgia on the five-yard line to seal the win and clinched a spot in their second consecutive BCS National Championship game.

BCS Championship game analysis:

- Notre Dame and Alabama are both very physical football teams and depend on their defenses. The Fighting Irish are led by Heisman Trophy finalist senior linebacker Manti Te'o. The Irish defense held their opponents to 10.3 points per game this season and also held their opponents to an average of 92.4 rushing yards per game. The Irish offense is going to be the big question going into this game. The real question is going to be how sophomore quarterback Everett Golson handles the pressure of the Alabama defense and if he can manage the game and not make mistakes. Golson will need a big game from senior running back Theo Riddick, so the passing game can open up. Golson will need to get the ball to senior All-American tight end Tyler Eifert. Eifert leads the team with 624 receiving yards and four touchdowns.

Alabama comes in with a physical defense as well. The Crimson Tide defense led by junior All-American linebacker C.J. Mosley and junior All-American cornerback Dee Milliner. The Crimson Tide defense held their opponents to 11.6 points per game, 80.6 rushing yards per game, and only 172.3 passing yards per game. The statistics show that this Alabama defense can play, but they have shown vulnerability this season. The Texas A&M and Georgia games are the ones that stick out in my mind. The Crimson Tide offense has proved to be very talented again this season. Junior quarterback AJ McCarron threw for 2,669 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, and had only three interceptions during the regular season. The running game consisting of powerful running backs Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon have proved to be one of the biggest strengths this season, along with freshman wide receiver Amari Cooper and an offensive line led by senior All-American center Barrett Jones.

This game is going to come down to who can control the line of scrimmage. Notre Dame has to establish a solid rushing attack and avoid mental mistakes. Everett Golson needs to protect the ball and avoid big hits when he decides to take the ball and run with it. If the Irish offensive line begins to get beat upfront it is going to be very difficult for the Irish to win this ball game. Alabama is in better shape coming into this game, because they have a more experienced quarterback in AJ McCarron. The Crimson Tide can rely on their running game, but also have a passing game they can rely on with speedy receiver Amari Cooper. For Alabama to win their second straight National Championship, the offense needs to get points down in the red zone and the defense needs to avoid giving up big plays that  keep the Irish in the game. I think this is going to be a very close game and we are going to see the Irish stay with the Crimson Tide until late in the fourth quarter. In the end, I feel it will be Nick Saban and his Crimson Tide winning their third National Championship in four years.

Prediction: Alabama 24, Notre Dame 21

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