Hollywood couldn't have scripted a better ending to the college football season. No. 1 Notre Dame versus No. 2 Alabama in Sun Life Stadium for the BCS National Championship on Monday, Jan. 7. There's no better matchup in college football in terms of history, tradition and rabid fan bases.
It's the luck of the Irish clashing with the rolling Tide. It's Rudy versus Forrest Gump. It's the independent juggernaut versus a college football behemoth from the Southeastern Conference. It's every analogy you can think of all wrapped into one.
But who has the edge?
Alabama a win away from being a dynasty
You have to respect the storied history and tradition that is Notre Dame Football. It the most notable college program and even though they haven't been competitive in years, fans and naysayers are as riled up as they were when Lou Holtz roamed the sidelines.
But that's just it; Notre Dame hasn't been competitive in a really long time. I'm not talking making a bowl game competitive. I'm talking being in the national conversation at the end of the year.
Think about this, if you would have told any Notre Dame fan that was around when Holtz won his championship in 1988 that the Irish wouldn't make the national championship game again until the 2012-2013 season, they probably would have laughed in your face.
The Irish are deserving of a spot in the game because they finished their season undefeated when other teams couldn't handle the pressure. Notre Dame is playing to show the world they belong in the discussion with the elite teams and are comparable to the SEC.
But Alabama is playing for a chance to become a dynasty. A win on Monday puts Alabama in the conversation as having one of the greatest runs in college football history.
The players won't mention it, the coaches won't mention it, but it has to be on everyone's mind. Its one thing to win a national championship (not diminishing the accomplishment), but it's another to continually position yourself year in and year out for a chance to win three national championships in a span of four years. That hasn't been done since Nebraska (1994, 1995, and 1997) did it under Tom Osborne.
Forget the modern-day prefix; Alabama's run would be all-time great. Nick Saban and his staff have once again maximized the potential of their team, putting them on the doorstep of college football immortality.
McCarron is a proven big game quarterback
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron may be the difference maker as he was in the 2011 national championship game. Notre Dame will be hell-bent on stopping the run and if the Irish is successful, McCarron will have to make big plays with his arm.
Good thing for McCarron is that Notre Dame's secondary is the defenses weakest link and McCarron has a nice toy that can get behind any secondary in true freshman Amari Cooper.
But if Notre Dame decides to shade coverage to Cooper's side, McCarron has other guys like Kevin Norwood, Christion Jones and Michael Williams to throw to.
He's been efficient all season and hasn't turned the ball over much with only three interceptions. McCarron doesn't get the national attention of some other big time quarterbacks, but at the end of the day, he has the most important thing -- a ring.
This should be one for the ages -- two classic programs with great talent and great coaching staffs. It will come down to which quarterback can make more plays and smart money says to go with AJ McCarron over Notre Dame's Everett Golson.
I think the game will be close for a while, but Alabama will eventually pull away to win by double-digits, 27-13, giving the Tide' its third national championship in four years.