Today is the day. By tomorrow, we will have a BCS champion, and the college football season that was will be completed. By tomorrow, we may have a repeat champion, as Nick Saban has guided his Alabama Crimson Tide back to the title game, and has them as the favorites to repeat, despite their one loss, and #2 national ranking. This win could be the dynasty-maker for Saban, a coach who was great in college, horrible in the NFL, and went back to being great on football Saturdays.
Against them, the storied Notre Dame Fighting Irish. While the boys from South Bend have been on the cusp of relevance for years now, several false starts have made many a pundit take back their "back" predictions for the Irish. But today is the first time since 1988 that Notre Dame truly has a chance to "Play Like a Champion," as their signature locker room sign beckons them to do before games.
Now, this is a Buckeye community, and around these parts, it's basketball season. But the majority of Buckeye fans live in Columbus, and the 614 is famous for tuning into big sports events in record numbers, so I imagine a lot of you will at least keep an eye on the goings on in Miami Gardens tonight. So, with apologies to Wallace Shawn, William Golding and the crew at NFL Kickoff, who is the pick as the 2013 BCS champion?
Get used to disappointment.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish began the year unranked in the AP poll, and 24th in the Coach's Poll. Their rise to the #1 overall ranking is by no means a new story, but is part of a narrative that will undoubtedly be mentioned countless times today and into the game tonight. I'm tired of it already, so I can clearly not pick the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Alabama, on the other hand, was a consensus top-3 team in both polls at the beginning of the year, surrounded by USC and LSU, depending on the poll. Considering the dismal ends to Southern Cal's and Louisiana State's seasons, Alabama is installed as the favorite, maybe to prove that the voters weren't entirely crazy back in the preseason. But college football poll voters ARE crazy, so I can clearly not pick the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Have I made my decision yet? Not remotely.
Alabama has the second best defense in the country, and has allowed the second least amount of points and touchdowns, and they did it in the SEC, their one loss against eventual Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Football. Defense in a better conference wins championships, so I can clearly not pick the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame, on the other hand, has the best defense in the country, statistically, and has the nation's best defender in Manti Te'o. They have allowed the least points and least touchdowns of any team in the country this year. Better defense wins championships, so I can clearly not pick the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Truly I have a dizzying intellect, but wait 'til I get going!
Notre Dame is conference-less and about to head kinda-sorta into the ACC to play sports, including Football. The schedule is already pockmarked with ACC teams, all of whom they beat, and the ACC is dreadful so I can clearly not pick the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Alabama is in the SEC, the single greatest entity that has ever existed in college football, and a win for Bama means a seventh straight BCS title for that conference. I'm sick of that kind of run, as are most fans above the Mason Dixon line, so I can clearly not pick the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Am I just stalling now? You'd like to think that, wouldn't you!
Notre Dame is number one, but they are with a bullet - they opened as a 7.5-to-10 point underdog to Alabama, so I can clearly not pick the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
But the lines in BCS games have been all but moot considering the final results, so I can clearly not pick the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Notre Dame played a tough schedule, no doubt, but needed three overtimes to beat Pittsburgh at home. Pittsburgh. A team that was boat-raced at home by Youngstown State. So I can clearly not pick the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Alabama won all their games except one, the aforementioned game against Johnny Football and Texas A&M, and that loss occurred in Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. So I can clearly not pick the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Midwest teams ranked #1 against an SEC #2 in the BCS Championship have not fared so well (and everyone on this site should remember the 2007 and 2008 BCSNCGs, or at least tried to forget), so I can clearly not pick the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
But this Notre Dame team isn't like 2006 and 2007 Ohio State, they're more like 2002 Ohio State, as previously mentioned here, a team with a tremendous defense that overcame a large betting number to win a BCS title, so I can clearly not pick the Alabama Crimson Tide.
An Irish win means there will be two teams with undefeated records, and those two teams will never play one another, and we will never know who is truly the better team, so I can clearly not pick the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
But an Alabama win means the lone undefeated team in the country is in Columbus...and Ohio State, despite being the only team to go through their schedule without a loss, will be relegated to national runner up, or more likely a ranking of #3, so I can clearly not pick the Alabama Crimson Tide.
So who is the pick, then? I will make my choice. And I choose--what in the world??
(But really... Alabama 20 - Notre Dame 17)