MIAMI (Sporting Alert) Alabama, no doubt. Notre Dame, are you kidding me?
It couldn’t happen. Could it?
A pair of victories of then-No. 4 Stanford (20-13) and then-No. 8 Oklahoma (30-13) to go 8-0 at that point, certainly turned the doubters into believes.
No.1 Notre Dame (12-0) remains undefeated heading into the BCS game, but are still not the hot favourites playing against an Alabama side that has been backed to peak for the championships.
This is why head Brian Kelly is instructing his Fighting Irish team to finish off the job they’ve started.
So how does Kelly get his team back to playing at the highest level after such a lengthy layoff during the Christmas period.
“We didn’t talk about the long layoff. We just talked about what we needed to do to win this football game and be the best football team on January the 7th,” Kelly, the AP coach of the year and Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award winner, said.
“There are a lot of pieces that go into that, and I think I it began for us with getting our football team back in the weight room and really looking at this as a preparation for a one game series.
“That means our guys have to get back to conditioning element. We have to find our timing as it relates to practicing. And also be smart enough to know that we certainly want to peak at the right time.”
There is a hype centred around the game and Kelly says there is good reasons for this.
“The tradition of Alabama and Notre Dame brings special attention to it, but we’re just trying to be the best team on Monday, Jan. 7,” he said.
“All of that tradition, what’s happened in the past, is not going to help us Jan. 7, but we do respect the traditions.”
Defending champions Alabama (12-1) have also made progress since the narrow defeat to Texas A&M, which almost cost them a place in BCS game at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.
Nick Saban and No. 2 ranked Crimson Tide earned their spot by beating Georgia in the SEC Championships game and the coach no wants his players to ”honor the opportunity” as the go for their third BCS title in four years.
Just like last year when they went 3-1 from the last four games, Alabama also takes a three game winning streaking into the contest on Monday night.
This time they had to fight harder and Saban could never be prouder than his young team.
“I … couldn’t be prouder of what this team has accomplished this season,” said Saban, who saw his team shut-out LSU 21-0 to take the national title last year.
“We had a young team coming back … and for this team now to have a chance to go back to the national championship game is a little unprecedented.”
Event: Discover BCS National Championship – Notre Dame vs. Alabama
Place: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida
Date: Monday, January 7, 8:30 p.m.
Live TV: ESPN, WatchESPN.com
Watch Notre Dame Head Coach- Brian Kelly BSC Press Conference
Alabama Head Coach- Nick Saban BSC Press Conference