On one side, a blossoming dynasty from the college football capital of the Deep South. On the other, the sport’s most famous team, trying to reclaim its place among the elite.
Notre Dame and Alabama bring star power and power football to the BCS championship.
The matchup became official Sunday night when the final standings were released and, to no one’s surprise, the Fighting Irish were first and the Crimson Tide was second.
The one bit of drama on college football’s selection Sunday was whether Northern Illinois could be this year’s BCS buster. The Huskies got in, getting a spot in the Orange Bowl against Florida State, taking a bid away from Oklahoma and sparking heated debate about a system that never fails to tick off fans in some way. The other BCS matchups will feature Pac-12 Conference champ Stanford against the Big Ten’s Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, Florida against Louisville in the Sugar Bowl and intriguing matchup of Oregon and Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl.
As for the main event in the penultimate Bowl Championship Series, there was little controversy: No. 1 Notre Dame against No. 2 Alabama in Miami on Jan. 7.
The Irish clinched their spot a week ago in Los Angeles by completing a perfect season against rival Southern Cal.
Alabama earned its spot Saturday, beating Georgia 32-28 in a thrilling Southeastern Conference title game.
The Crimson Tide are on the verge of one of the great runs in history. Alabama would become the first team to repeat as champs since the BCS was implemented in 1998, and it would be the 11th time a team has won consecutive AP titles since the poll started in 1936.