January 7, 2013

National title on the line

Notre Dame and Alabama, each a winner of eight national titles, meet for the BCS championship.

By PAUL NEWBERRY The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

AJ McCarron
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AJ McCarron and his Alabama teammates are trying to become the first school to win consecutive BCS championships.

The Associated Press

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BCS TITLE GAME

WHO: Alabama (12-1) vs. Notre Dame (12-0)

WHEN: 8:30 p.m. Monday

WHERE: Miami

TELEVISION: ESPN

AT STAKE: Alabama is going for its third national championship in four years and trying to become the first school to win back-to-back BCS titles. Notre Dame is seeking its first national championship since 1988.

While points figure to be at a premium given the quality of both defenses, Alabama appears to have a clear edge on offense. The Tide have the nation's highest-rated passer (AJ McCarron), two 1,000-yard rushers (Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon), a dynamic freshman receiver (Amari Cooper), and three linemen who made the AP All-America team (first-teamers Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack, plus second-teamer D.J. Fluker).

"That's football at its finest," said Te'o, who heads a defense that has given up just two rushing touchdowns. "It's going to be a great challenge, and a challenge that we look forward to."

The Crimson Tide had gone 15 years without a national title when Saban arrived in 2007, the school's fifth coach in less than a decade.

In 2008, Saban landed one of the greatest recruiting classes in school history, a group that has already produced eight NFL draft picks and likely will send at least three more players to the pros (including Jones). The following year, Saban guided Alabama to a perfect season, beating Texas in the title game at Pasadena, Calif.

Last season, the Tide fortuitously got a shot at another BCS crown despite losing to LSU during the regular season and failing to even win its division in the Southeastern Conference. In a rematch against the Tigers, Alabama romped to a 21-0 victory at the Superdome.

This title game certainly has a different feel than last year's.

"That was really kind of a weird national championship because it was a team we already played," Jones remembered. "It was kind of another SEC game. It was in the South, and it just had a very SEC feel to it, obviously. This year is much more like the 2009 game (against Texas) for me. We're playing an opponent that not only we have not played them, but no one we have played has played them. So you don't really have an exact measuring stick."

In fact, these schools have played only six times, and not since 1987, but the first of their meetings is still remembered as one of the landmark games in college football history. Bear Bryant had one of his best teams at the 1973 Sugar Bowl, but Ara Parseghian and the Fighting Irish claimed the national title by knocking off top-ranked Alabama 24-23.

Of course, these Alabama players aren't concerned about what happened nearly four decades ago.

"There's a lot of tradition that goes into Alabama football," Mosley said, "and our plan is to keep that tradition alive."

 

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