After spending the last week acting like a kid in a candy store, the sugar rush has started to fade after another fantastic bowl season. But just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in … with the national championship at stake.
As we close out the 2012 college football season, I'd like to thank all of you who enjoyed reading this column as much as I enjoyed writing it this year. The opportunity to wax poetic about my favorite level of my favorite sport has been something I've looked forward to every week, no matter how hectic the local schedule has been.
That said, I've been looking forward to this final column as much as any of the year. With the potent offensive and dominant defensive performances in bowl games over the last few weeks, the down-to-the-wire frantic finishes and stellar comebacks, the high-scoring shootouts and clash-of-style matchups the bowl season provides, the biggest one of all looms Monday night.
I don't know how the BCS national championship can even begin to live up to some of those other games. I don't expect many points – or even yards – and the styles of the two teams couldn't be more similar of they were facing mirror images of themselves.
My biggest fear heading into Monday's game in Miami: a repeat of last year's title game. As disappointing as it was to see LSU play so miserably, the game was one of the most uninteresting affairs in recent memory … and I'm afraid the defending champion Crimson Tide and undefeated Fighting Irish will be in the same vein.
Neither offense is terribly dynamic, and both feature strong ground games and quarterbacks who find ways to make enough plays with their arms to win games. Both defenses are stout – the top two in the country when it comes to allowing the fewest points, in fact – with linebackers who fly to the football and the linemen holding their own in the trenches.
All that said, I think I have to give a slight edge to Alabama. Not only do the Tide have the best offensive line in the country (4 All-Americans along the front line), but their defense is just as stingy as it was the last few years (2 titles in 3 seasons). While Alabama might have to settle for several field goals against Notre Dame's tough defense (like it did last year against LSU), the Tide's defense will be tough to move the ball on (like LSU found out last year, not running a play in Alabama territory the entire game).
But underestimate this year's Irish at your own peril. Their defense won't make things easy on the Tide, and the ND offense seems to have the magic touch when it comes to finding ways to make plays and pull out close games ...
.. And I think this one will be close, maybe a one-score margin when all is said and done.
So here's hoping for an entertaining end to what has been another wild roller-coaster year of college football. May the marking of days until next season go smoothly (and quickly) for us all – only 34 weeks until the first college football Saturday of 2013!
See you then in 'The Blitz'!
BCS National Championship
No. 1 Notre Dame (12-0) vs. No. 2 Alabama (12-1)
When: 7:30 p.m. Monday
Where: Miami Gardens, Fla.
TV/Radio: ESPN/1000 AM
Line: Alabama by 10 (opened with Alabama +7½)
Over/under: 41 points
Ty's pick: Alabama 18-9
By the numbers
Scoring offense: Alabama 38.5 points per game, Notre Dame 26.8 ppg
Scoring defense: Notre Dame 10.3 points per game (1st in nation), Alabama 10.7 ppg (2nd in nation)
Total offense: Alabama 439.1 yards per game (40th), Notre Dame 421.3 yards per game (49th)
Total defense: Alabama 246.0 yards per game (1st), Notre Dame 286.8 yards per game (6th)
Rushing offense: Alabama 224.6 yards per game (19th), Notre Dame 202.5 yards per game (29th)
Rushing defense: Alabama 79.8 yards per game (1st), Notre Dame 92.4 yards per game (4th)
Passing offense: Notre Dame 218.8 yards per game, Alabama 214.5 yards per game (neither in top 50)
Passing defense: Alabama 101.6 yards per game, Notre Dame 105.4 yards per game
Turnover margin: Alabama +13 (tied for 12th), Notre Dame +9 (tied for 21st)
Irish FYI: Won 8 AP national titles since poll era began in 1936. … First trip to BCS title game. … Won back-to-back AP titles in 1946-47. … Won three AP titles in 4-year span (1946-47, '49). … Allowed 6 points or fewer five times this season, with one shutout.
Tide FYI: Looking for third BCS & AP title in 4 years. … Won 8 AP national titles since poll era began in 1936. … Won back-to-back AP titles twice (1964-65, 1978-79), and could become first team to ever win back-to-back titles three different times. … Looking to run streak of SEC national champs to 7 straight, and become first team to win three BCS titles. … Coach Nick Saban has never lost a BCS title game (3-0).