The University of Alabama has been atop the American college football landscape the last five years.
Head coach Nick Saban has consistently guided his Crimson Tide to winning records in a tough Southeastern Conference and spots in three of the last four national championship games. Saban produced title game victories during the 2009-2010 and 2011-2012 seasons.
The next chapter unfolds on Monday, 7 January, as Alabama battles the top-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Bowl Championship Series National Title Game. Miami Gardens in South Florida serves as the venue from 8.30pm, with TV coverage on ESPN.
In 2012, Saban guided the Crimson Tide to a 12-1 mark behind quarterback AJ McCarron. The Fighting Irish, meanwhile, were undefeated at 12-0 under hurler Everett Golson and Heisman Trophy finalist Manti Te’o.
Monday’s contest figures to be a defensive struggle. Both schools rank in the top ten in most defensive categories. In addition, the offences have the most success running the ball.
Alabama are 19th in rushing at 224.6 yards per game behind a pair of runners in Eddie Lacy (1,182 yards, 16 touchdowns) and T.J. Yeldon (1,000 yards, 11 TDs). Notre Dame rank 29th in the country at 202.5ypg behind Theo Riddick (880 yards, five TDs) and Cierre Wood (740 yards, four TDs).
Under head coach Brian Kelly, Notre Dame has exceeded expectations this year. The Fighting Irish defeated major programmes like Stanford, Oklahoma and the University of Southern California.
None of those schools boast a defence on par with Alabama. None of Notre Dame’s opponents so far have hailed from the SEC, the only conference to win the national title game six straight times. Odds are the Crimson Tide will keep that momentum going by smashing Notre Dame and the luck of the Irish should run out in a five-point defeat.