Monday, January 07, 2013
That's my best guess, at least. What am I talking about? Tonight's BCS Championship Game of course. What was shaping up as an epic battle between the College Football teams that Rob and TJ root for (even though neither of them attended these schools...you guys might want to read this) that would be highlighted (Kind of. Maybe?) by a post where these two matched wits and predictions for said game never materialized, sadly.
TJ is over in Italy to finally visit Chef Boyardee's grave (h/t Marls) and is unable to participate. So we thought we'd take advantage of the expansion of the G:TB staff and bring in another Notre Dame supporter (who also didn't attend the school), our very own Danimal who was kind enough to take time away from drinking in a cabana in Miami to answer some questions about tonight's BCS Championship Game. Without further ado...
Since this game is being held in the "home" stadium of one of the most annoying and obnoxious fan bases in College Football (Miami), who has the more annoyingly obnoxious fan base, Alabama or Notre Dame?
Rob: I don’t think this one’s really all that close. Alabama’s fans are far, far more obnoxious than Notre Dame’s. Between the floppy Southern frat boy haircuts of the more well-educated ones and the casual inbreeding, racism, and just general stupidity at the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum, there’s not that much to like about Alabama fans. Unless you’re into really, really gorgeous women in houndstooth. I’ve never really considered Domers obnoxious, unless you count Mike Golic, and he’s mostly doing schtick. Unrealistically entitled, maybe, but not obnoxious.
Danimal: I can’t answer this with firsthand knowledge yet, to be truthful. But I don’t think there will be any question it’s Bama. They just look like a bunch of dicks. As an ND fan, I will say that I did think it was in poor taste and a little classless to break out the “Domers vs Homers” & “Catholics vs Cousins” shirts. There’s no need to give the opponents more motivation to kick your ass. And it just wasn’t nice. Come on now, can’t we just have fun and get along?
(The correct answer here is still 'Miami fans'. Do you really think they care their team isn't playing in this game? Not one bit. Still plenty of douchebags throwing "The U" symbols.)
What matchup (individual or personnel groups) is most crucial to victory for Notre Dame or Alabama?
Rob: This is hardly an original thought, but Alabama’s offensive line versus the Irish front seven is massively important. It’s probably safe to say that neither unit has faced another as good as the one it’ll line up against tonight – the Tide’s arguably played better defensive fronts in the SEC than Notre Dame played on average, but that’s a small edge, if any. I’m no connoisseur of the grunt game, so I’ll save the deep analysis for someone who knows what they’re talking about, but if Alabama can wear Notre Dame down like they’ve done to so many other defenses this season, they’ll walk away with another title.
Danimal: D-Line vs Bama’s backs - TJ Yeldon & Eddie Lacy. Those guys are f’ing beasts. Men amongst boys. They scare the shit out of me. They shouldn’t be allowed to play tonight. It’s not fair.
(It's definitely up front, and that matchup up front bleeds into Bama's ability to run the ball. Well done, chaps)
In your estimation, which player must play an above average game in order for his team to win?
Rob: From the Notre Dame perspective, it’s hard to see a path to victory if Everett Golson isn’t excellent. Alabama’s only loss came against an athletic quarterback who made a shitload of mind-boggling plays. If Everett Football comes to play, he gives the Irish a dimension that’s proven to trouble the stout Tide defense.
Alabama’s two-headed tailback committee of T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy are beastly. Both rolled for over 1000 yards this season, totaling 27 touchdowns in 13 games. We’ll know things are going Nick Saban’s way if they get off early. Under Saban, Alabama is 49-0 when they rush for more than 150 yards, 11-7 when they don’t. The Tide’s offense is predicated on establishing the run and using play-action to give A.J. McCarron time and space. I don’t think there’s a more important stat to keep an eye on.
Danimal: ND has to score touchdowns when they get in the red zone. This is where they consistently stalled this season. For this to happen, Golson Golson Golson, with the right plays called of course. Also – Kyle Brindza, Kicker, should ND stall inside the 20. My boy Kyle, or “Breezy” as I like to call him, needs to be perfect this evening.
(For Bama, it's Barrett Jones. He's the leader of their O-Line and their most versatile Olineman, Chance Warmack is the best. For Notre Dame it's Louis Nix. He has to command double teams to open lanes for ND's linebackers. And what do you know? They'll be going head up against one another for much of the night. You should really try and watch these two tonight)
What phase of the game do you see the opposing team's biggest weakness? How do you think that your rooting interest will attack this weakness?
Rob: I don’t think all that much of Notre Dame’s talent at the offensive skill positions. I think the Irish wideouts will have a hard time finding space against Alabama’s corners, a unit Saban coaches himself, and as a result, Golson will have to make a ton of plays after the pocket breaks down. The one obvious exception here is tight end Tyler Eifert, who I expect to be a big part of the Irish game plan, as always. I’m hoping the Tide attacks him with a variety of dirty hits and ethnic slurs. What the fuck is an Eifert, anyway?
Danimal: Does Bama really have a weakness? I guess they do – A&M beat them but they got that Johnny Touchdown fella. Is that his name? ND’s gotta spread the wealth tonight among the receivers. They get one of their weapons back, Devaris Daniels, who has been out with an injury since I don’t remember when, but a while, and he’s fucking good. Between he, Theo Riddick who is primarily a back but can line up as a WR, and the #1 TE in the draft Tyler Eifert, ND might cause some problems. It will be up to Golson to manage and execute. Get’r Done Golson!
(Bama does have a weakness, Danimal. It's their lack of pass rush. They haven't been able to do it consistently this year. Golson could make this even more challenging with his ability to improvise)
Each of these teams will have plenty of fans in South Florida for the game. Which fan base is going to look more out of place in South Beach?
Rob: This is really a push. Alabama rednecks will certainly stand out amongst the beautiful people, but the beefy, pasty Chicago contingent is gonna look awful with sunburn blisters. Notre Dame rooters will likely have better manners – I don’t expect one of them to teabag a Tide fan in the unlikely event they win.
That wasn’t one of our finest moments.
Danimal: With ND, you’ve got their alum and you’ve got the non-alum. They differ greatly. With Bama, they all look the same, and that is out of place.
(The correct answer is both. Because both fanbases have tons of great, big fat people. Duh.)
And, of course, who wins tonight and what's the score?
Rob: I’m a little nervous about how little nerves I have about this game. Maybe the two titles the Tide’s won in the last three seasons have made me complacent. Maybe I’ve overbought the SEC hype. Maybe I’m just a lousy prognosticator (though my history with Alabama games has been pretty good, right Mark?). But I don’t think the Tide has much trouble tonight. Manti Te’o will get a lot of run from the television guys, and it’s richly deserved. Notre Dame will be amped up as the game starts – might even have the lead after the first quarter. But Alabama’s offensive line is the best in the game, and they’ll take a toll. Alabama wins going away, 27-13.
Danimal: After a perfectly executed game by ND, on the plus side in the turnover battle with no TO’s, and 3-3 in field goals, ND wins 16-13.
Thanks for your efforts guys. Good luck (I don't really mean this) tonight!
Posted by Mark at 3:28 PM