Notre Dame vs. Alabama (-10.5), Monday January 7th, 8:30 ET
I've seen a direct correlation in my gambling profits (or losses) this year from last year. When I used to spend the time every weekend capping NFL, college football or college basketball games I saw something that I haven't seen very much of this year: Wins. There's simply something to be said to doing research, putting your thoughts down on a white piece of digital paper and publishing your predictions. While I've had fun doing the predictions, they became too time consuming, and quickly became an after thought. Well - there's one reason I've decided to write about the National Championship game and that reason is $$. The more that I invest myself into the story lines leading up to the game, the more knowledgeable I feel about the outcome. At least that's what I'll continue to tell myself. So without further ado, here's some analysis on how the BCS Championship game could go...
Admittedly I've watched a LOT less College Football this year than in years past. A couple of reasons for that: I didn't go to a University with a football program (fuck was I thinking?) and Pranna Brunch in NY. Nothing else matters to me on Saturdays. Although there was that one Saturday I witnessed the Razorbacks of Arkansas have their balls handed to them on a silver platter by the powerhouse that is the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks. That was fun. Apart from the abysmal Arkansas season, my understanding of what's been going on this year is that the SEC has been the dominant conference for the 7th or 8th straight season. Just checked the rankings, looks like they have 6 of the top 10 teams in football and 7 of the top 13 teams. Wait, What?! So now that we understand the SEC is in a league of their own this game shouldn't even be close right? While Alabama vs. Georgia for the SEC Championship had all the makings of an instant classic there was one thing that stuck out to me. This Alabama defense is NOT the same defense that held LSU to 0 points in the Championship last season. Georgia showed in that second half that there are vulnerabilities in that secondary. In what was a wildly entertaining game, I felt more like time had run out on Georgia than it did Bama shutting the clamps on Georgia's offense. RB T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy have been nothing short of phenomenal this year - so the true test in the BCS Championship will be Alabama's running game (224 yds/gm, 20th ranked) vs. Notre Dame's stout running D (A nation-best 2 TD's against, and 92 yds/game - 4th best in the country).
There was a lot of talk once Notre Dame clinched whether or not the Fighting Irish are deserving to be in this game given some of their shaky wins (Stanford in OT) and Pitt (3 OTs). They haven't exactly looked like the dominant team that their 12-0 record suggests - but there's something to be said about winning every game on your schedule. Part of the reason I chose to write about this game is because I picked up the Newspaper and read an article that reminded me what I loved about Sports. For Irish WR TJ Jones, this is more than just a game. TJ's father, Andre, was a member of the 1988 Notre Dame National Championship team. 25 years later, TJ will try to emulate his father's success, only his father will not be here to watch his son. Andre Jones passed away last year at the young age of 42 years. Faced with many challenges and TJ being forced to grow up at a very young age - four younger siblings - Football served as a great way for Jones to channel his emotions and play a game that he loves. The support of his team, coaches, and past alumni offer a great foundation for TJ. It's stories like these and men like TJ that show us the impact that sports can have on our lives.
When it comes to the game, Notre Dame will rely on their QB Everett Golson to make the big plays. Golson in his win over USC reminded me a little of the heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel from Texas A&M - who handed Alabama their only loss of the season. Golson gives the Fighting Irish a QB who can make plays with his feet which should keep Alabama's defense honest. The Irish also have one of the best overall athletes in College Football in RB/WR Theo Riddick. This kid can flat out ball (from the one game I watched against USC). Then there's their First-Team All American LB Manti Te'o who finished second in the Heisman voting this year. Overall, I feel like the Fighting Irish getting 10+ points is a steal. They have the talent, the motivation, and the strength of a team bonded together in only a way a champion team can. It won't be easy, but I see the Irish pulling this out, 24-23 en route to the BCS Championship.
Season Record: 0-0, lol