Happy New Year, everyone. People all over the world are celebrating the end of a year that will go down in infamy for so many reasons, but Alabama fans would like the football part to continue on as it is, thank you very much. The Tide will face off against Notre Dame this afternoon, and Creg Stephenson has the goods on all of the old scores Alabama still has to settle with the Irish.
Fortunately, Christmas didn’t seem to cause any new COVID issues, as Nick Saban states that everyone who was expected to travel, did. That is fantastic news.
Notre Dame has been too solid, too veteran-led and too ready to answer the challenge all season for me to think we see another steamrolling like the 2013 BCS Championship Game. I don’t doubt that Alabama will strike early and likely be in control for most of the game, but this is too many daggum points for a College Football Playoff semifinal between two teams who have a combined 21-1 on the year. Pick: Notre Dame +20 | Alabama 45, Notre Dame 28
Alabama has been the most consistent team in the country all season, and it’s hard to see that wavering now. To its advantage, there have been fewer distractions than normal. This has not been a year with impending staff changes—Saban does not appear to be losing a coordinator to a head-coaching job elsewhere, at least not yet. And while there are several players who will face stay-or-go professional decisions, many of ‘Bama’s best players are seniors (DeVonta Smith, Harris, Alex Leatherwood, Dickerson, Dylan Moses) and have known their status all along. The Tide will roll into its fifth College Football Playoff championship game.
Alabama 45, Notre Dame 21
Alabama has been the best team in college football this season and has outscored its last four opponents in the CFB Playoff semifinal by a combined score of 131-47. The Crimson Tide simply have too much firepower on offense, and while the defense has been vulnerable at times, this is a tough draw for Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish need to force a couple of takeaways, play keep away from Alabama’s offense by winning the battle in the trenches and establishing the run, while also limiting the big plays by Jones, Smith and Harris. It’s not impossible but succeeding in that formula for all four quarters is unlikely. The Crimson Tide cruise to an easy CFB Playoff win once again and book a trip to Miami on Jan. 11 to play for the national title.
Prediction: Alabama 45, Notre Dame 17
“Alabama is going to kill them,” said a veteran assistant. “I’m just being honest.”
“Alabama is unstoppable on offense,” said a head coach. “Did you see the pass concepts they ran in the SEC title game? They knew what Florida was doing and were running routes to mess with them.”
Optimism came in this form: “I don’t think Notre Dame will get obliterated,” said another assistant. “I see it being like 42-21.”
It’s interesting how close the consensus seems to be on this game. Pretty much everyone expects Alabama to be in the 40s and Notre Dame in the 20s, putting the game very close to the 20 point spread. We have broken it down about every way that you can, and that seems to be about right. This game will be annoying at times to notoriously perfectionist Alabama fans, but it won’t be particularly close. Call it 48-20, but only because Saban decides to “take the air out of the ball,” as he so loves to do in the fourth quarter. Alabama can score 60 on this team if they wish.
Of course, that is just my opinion. Vote and give us yours in the comments.
What will be the outcome of the Rose Bowl?
This poll is closed
There’s a tear in Kelly’s postgame Guinness, Alabama by 20+
Alabama wins comfortably but tougher than expected, Tide by 10-19
It’s a nailbiter, Tide by 1-9
Irish pull the upset (BANNED)
We will be along later with game threads, etc. but that’s about it for now. Lets’ get it done, men.