Discover BCS National Championship Preview: 5 Marquee Matchups
Discover BCS National Championship
The Discover BCS National Championship game is fast approaching and with it a matchup between the 2 best teams in college football, the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. For the past month this has been the game that every college football fan has been waiting for, and it certainly promises to be a game to be remembered for many seasons.
The reality of the game is both these teams sport strong, physical defenses that smother opposing offenses, and allow their offenses to be effective on short fields and with leads. On the flip side, while the 2 offensive systems that will be on display couldn't be more different, both want to do very similar things. Both run very balanced offenses, averaging just over 200 yards passing and rushing each per game, with the only real offensive disparity being in scoring where the Crimson Tide score nearly 10 more points a game.
But don't assume that's an advantage in itself. Alabama feasted on teams this year and ran up big scores in blowout wins. Notre Dame on the other hand was seemingly in a tight game every week coming down to the wire, so the opportunity to run up the score was far more diminished for them.
The point in all this being, these 2 teams are matched up very evenly on both sides of the football. But as I have always preached college football is about the matchups and in this game there are 5 dandies I want to look at a little closer. Whichever team can get the most of these should hold a distinct advantage in controlling the outcome of the game.
Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper vs. Notre Dame cornerback Bennett Jackson
Cooper might only be a freshman but he's developed very quickly into the best receiving threat this Alabama team has. His future is very bright. The Fighting Irish was try and counter with their most experienced cornerback in Jackson. The matchup is going to be tough on Jackson as Cooper has found a way to get deep and get open ever since he's been a prominent part of the offense.
Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix III vs. Alabama center Barrett Jones
I have a hard time believing that Jones is truly going to be 100 percent for the championship game, and because of that, I don't think it's going to be strictly a one man job for him to block the massive Nix. Jones will most likely be part of a double team on Nix on most plays, which could allow one of those inside linebackers to get a free release to the football in the run game. I expect Nix to win his one on ones with Jones assuming he has any. However, if Jones can handle Nix on his own, it will really help that Crimson Tide run game.
Notre Dame linebacker Prince Shembo vs. Alabama tackle Cyrus Kouandijo
Shembo plays what they call the CAT linebacker position. Judging by the Notre Dame games I've watched, he is essentially a strong side backer who's job it is to rush the quarterback more than cover, which their DOG linebacker does. This means Shembo on passing downs is going to go hand on the ground against Kouandijo and the talented young tackle is going to have his work cut out for him. Shembo has been improving all year and although the Crimson Tide won't throw a lot, when they do, #55 is the guy to look out for.
Alabama linebacker CJ Mosley vs. Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson
One of the ways that Golson has been able to beat teams this year is with his legs. He's not a true dual threat quarterback, but he can extend plays with his legs and scramble for yards. Alabama head coach Nick Saban is smart and he'll likely use a spy on Golson and if I were picking a guy to eye the other team's best player it would be with mine, and that's Mosley. If Golson can extend a few drives and get away from Mosley, it could be a huge advantage for Notre Dame.
Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert vs. Alabama cornerback DeMarcus Milliner
If there is a true weapon in the Notre Dame passing game, it's Eifert. They can split him out wide like a receiver or in tight in a more traditional formation. He is a matchup nightmare, too big for a cornerback and too fast for linebackers, but if there's a player who has a shot against him it's Milliner. He's smaller than Eifert, but he plays very physical and does a nice job playing bigger than he is. But even with that, if Alabama leaves Eifert to run the middle of the field in zone, he's going to feast on them. Their best shot is with Milliner and see if he can throw the timing of the passing game off.