Monday, January 07, 2013

Bowl Season Predictions, Part 16

Finally. Monday is the BCS Championship game being played in Miami Florida. The #2 Alabama Crimson Tide 12-1) tee it up against the #1 Irish of Notre Dame (12-0). Alabama is favored by 9 1/2 points. Alabama was on this stage last year and won the title. Notre Dame hasn't been to a championship game since 1988 when a 12-0 team beat West Virginia for the title. Alabama and Notre Dame have met six times before and the Irish have won five of those contests. Their last meeting was 1987. The Irish won.

They say defense wins championships. Alabama has the nations #1 defense. The Tide is 1st against the run (79.8 ypg) and 2nd against the pass (166.2 ypg). Notre Dame is 6th in the nation on defense yielding just 93.3 ypg on the ground (4th in the nation) and 194.8 ypg through the air (19th in the nation). But the Irish have got Manti Te'o.

On offense, Alabama has the statistical edge ranking 38th overall. The Tide gains 224.6 ypg rushing (19th) and 214.5 ypg passing (74th). Notre Dame is “just” 48th overall when they possess the ball.  The Irish gain 202.5 ypg on the ground (29th) and 218.8 ypg via the airwaves (70th). BUT the Irish have a knack of keeping possession of the ball. They are 11th in the nation in time of possession at 32 minutes, 34 seconds per game.And they don't give up points. The Irish lead the nation i scoring defense yielding just 10.3 points per game. (Alamaba was second giving up 10.7 ppg.)

AJ McCarron is good. He’s completed 66.8% of his passes for 2,669 yards and 26 TDs while tossing just 3 INTs. Eddie Lacy is excellent. He’s rushed for 1,182 yards and 16 TDs on 184 carries. 

I expect the defenses to be pretty equal in this game. The key to the game may well be the play of redshirt freshman QB Everett Golson. Golson can’t match McCarron’s numbers (he only has 2,135 yards passing , 11 TDs and 5 INTs) but if he and running backs Theo Riddick (880 yards rushing) and Cierre Wood (740) can keep their heads while those about him are creating all kinds of mayhem, the Fighting Irish will win.

My pick: Notre Dame

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