2012 Discover BCS National Championship Preview

By Mike Atkinson
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The 2012 college football season is all but over. There are two teams left to play in the biggest game of the entire season.

The Alabama Crimson Tide and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish face off on Monday night in the Discover BCS National Championship game, for all the marbles.

A win will mark the perfect end to a long, hard fought season. A loss will send one team home with nothing to show for its entire season except a decent win-loss record.

Alabama enters the game with a record of 12-1 (7-1 in the SEC). It ranks second in the country in points scored against, and 13th in the country in points scored per game.

Notre Dame enters undefeated, with the number one defense in the country in points scored against, but 75th in points for.

So the number one defense in the country will be facing the number two defense in the country. Is this a coincidence? I think not.

Give me a second while I pull out my cliché book.

“Defense wins championships.” At least that’s what I’ve heard, and it certainly seems that way.

So on paper, this game will be low scoring, with very little room for mistakes. I think the team that can find a way to score the most will win. Well obviously.

In all seriousness though, the team that can find a way to capitalize on its defensive stops will win.

What to watch for:

1) With the nation’s two best defenses on display, watch for a lot of takeaways and very few offensive opportunities. Expect a low scoring, close game.

2) Notre Dame has been in debates about whether or not it belongs in championship games many times. This year, it had the scenario play out in its favor, and finds itself in the championship game. It will not roll over after all of these years. Look for Notre Dame to come out fired up and extremely motivated to shut up all of its doubters from years past.

Player to watch:

The player to watch for this game is Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron. McCarron needs to avoid turnovers, and have a big game for the Crimson Tide to win.

I don’t expect much success from the Alabama running game, so it is going to be up to McCarron to lead the offensive attack against the nation’s best defense.

My prediction:

These types of games are always hard to predict, since really it could go either way. I do think these are the best two teams in college football this season and it should be one heck of a game.

Alabama enters with a much stronger offense on paper. Stats are in Alabama’s favor, but motivation, drive and desire to win are on the Irish sideline. I think Notre Dame is the real deal this season and can beat the Crimson Tide in a close game.

Notre Dame wins 17-14.

Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeAtkinsonRS or visit his Rant Sports Author Page.

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