Tonight's the night for 'Bama-Notre Dame
MIAMI - The battle lines are drawn for tonight's BCS Championship at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.
Notre Dame, the top-ranked team with a 12-0 mark, has the distinction of being a fairly heavy underdog against 12-1 Alabama. Oddsmakers are rating the Crimson Tide about a 9-point favorite, largely based on Alabama's team speed and swarming defense.
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.
Notre Dame's strength is its stifling defense, which has allowed only two rushing touchdowns all season. The Crimson Tide has a pair of 1,000 yards rushers in Eddie Lacy and freshman T.J. Yeldon, who combined for 334 yards in a 32-28 victory over Georgia in the Southeastern Conference championship game. Notre Dame has surrendered only 92.4 yards per game on the ground, and just two players rushed for more than 100 yards against the Irish. LB Manti Te'o (MAN'-ty TAY'-ow) leads the team in tackles (103) and interceptions (seven).
This game matches two of the most storied programs in college grid history. The teams first met in the 1973 Sugar Bowl, a classic matchup in which Notre Dame claimed its second national title under coach Ara Parseghian with a 24-23 victory over Bear Bryant and the Crimson Tide. Their last meeting was in 1987, when Notre Dame romped to a 37-6 victory in South Bend.