Well, the end of Bowl season is finally upon us, and that means that the BCS National Championship game is here. Three of the four of us finished in the green with our picks (two of four if you’re counting units instead of record), but even the lowest of the low (Gino Bottero) have a chance to redeem themselves with a winning selection in the most important game of the college football season. Here we go.
BCS National Championship Game – Notre Dame vs. Alabama
- Consensus Line: Alabama -9.5, total 40.5
- Public Action: 63% on Notre Dame, equal action on over and under
Pizzola: This is going to sound like a total cop out, but I absolutely hate this game. Of the 35 bowl games, this is one of the handful that I literally wouldn’t bet on with my worst enemy’s money. With that being said, I’m obliged to make a pick, and I can’t bet against Alabama here. The Crimson Tide already played their National Championship game when they beat Georgia in the SEC Championship game, and while the Bulldogs beat the spread, they did so because of a blocked field goal that they returned for a touchdown. That won’t happen again. Notre Dame’s defense is strong, but Alabama’s offensive line could be one of the best that I’ve seen in my lifetime, so I doubt the Tide will have their running game stifled all night. Alabama also commits the fourth fewest penalties per game in the nation, so they don’t have a tendency to shoot themselves in the foot. The Tide are well coached, they don’t have a major weakness, and they play out of a conference that’s won six straight National Championship games, five of which came by double-digits. Alabama -9.5
Webster: You really gotta love this matchup between the upstart Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the team that’s looking to defend their national title, the Crimson Tide of Alabama. Ten points is a LOT of points, but it shouldn’t scare you away. If you laid 10 points in last year’s National Championship game (Bama was actually a 2.5-point dog), you would have been golden, as the Tide shut out LSU 21-0. Is Notre Dame’s offense better than the Tigers of 2011? Not even close. LSU averaged over 38 points per game last season while Notre Dame averaged under 27 per game this season. I know the Irish have solid wins over the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, and Oklahoma, but those teams aren’t even in the same stratosphere as the Tide. I might pay for it, but I just think if you give Nick Saban over a month to game plan for an opponent and you give super offensive lineman Barrett Jones a month to get back to 100 percent, then it means Notre Dame is in trouble. I think this one will be close for the first half, but the Irish just don’t have the horses to stay with Bama throughout what will be two tough halves of football. Alabama just keeps on coming, and I wouldn’t expect anything different when the crystal football is on the line. I’m laying the points and going with Alabama to make it two in a row. Alabama -9.5
Bottero: For the second year in a row the BCS National Championship Game will feature the top two scoring defenses in the nation. Notre Dame has won five of six all-time meetings with Alabama, but the last of those meetings came in 1987. Saban has been at the center of the SEC’s dominance in the title game over the last 10 years, but Brian Kelly might have done the best coaching job in the country this season. Manti Te’o was the runner-up in this year’s Heisman voting, and he will not want to be the runner-up a second time this season. Everett Golson will need to put together a big game here, and if the does, the Irish have a decent chance to pull off the upset. Alabama was consistently overvalued as the season progressed, and they struggled to cover big point spreads against quality opponents. Notre Dame +9.5
Papa: I don’t know if I’m going to pick a side in this game. I like both teams, and I’m hoping to see a classic between these two storied schools. On one hand, I really think Notre Dame can keep this close and the Irish have proven all year that pressure does not phase them. On the other hand, Alabama is a juggernaut of a team—they’re fast, strong and really big. If there’s one thing I can’t bet against it’s luck, and that’s something that the Irish have taken advantage of all season. On paper the Tide should “roll” (get what I did there?), but I like the fact that Notre Dame has played in a lot of close games this year. I’m gonna take the points here, but I won’t be surprised if Bama back doors this spread with a late pick six to end the game. For the sake of trying to get my record above .500, I’ll make a double pick. Notre Dame +9.5, under 40.5.
NCAA 13 gets the last call. The final score? Alabama 31, Notre Dame 28.