No. 1 Notre Dame (12-0) vs. No. 2 Alabama (12-1)
Monday, Jan. 7, 8:30 p.m. ET
Sun Life Stadium (72,230) . Miami Gardens, Fla.
TV: ESPN (Brent Musburger, play-by-play; Kirk Herbstreit, analyst; Heather Cox , sidelines; Tom Rinaldi, sidelines)
RADIO: ESPN Radio (Mike Tirico, PxP; Todd Blackledge, analyst; Holly Rowe, sidelines; Joe Schad, sidelines)
ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (12-1, 7-1 SEC)
Head Coach: Nick Saban (Kent State ’73)
Overall/Years: 168-72-1 (.699)/18th Season
UA/Years: 62-13 (.827)/Sixth Season
In Bowl Games: 7-6 (.538)
National Rankings: BCS (2nd); Harris (2nd); USA Today (2nd); AP (2nd)
UA Bowl Appearances: 59
UA Bowl Record: 32-22-3 (.595)
UA Bowl Streak: W3 [Last: Def. LSU 21-0; 2012 BCS Championship Game]
Formations: Offense – Pro Style . Defense – 3-4
QB AJ McCarron (6-4, 210, Jr., Mobile, Ala.)
McCarron, a native of Mobile, Ala., leads the nation in passing efficiency (173.08) and has thrown 26 touchdowns in 2012 to set the program record for a single season. He is completing 66.5 percent of his passes for 2,669 yards, while posting a 24-2 career record.
CB Dee Milliner (6-1, 199, Jr., Millbrook, Ala.)
Has been a stalwart in the back end of the Crimson Tide’s top-ranked defense. He was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award and the Bronko Naguraski Award. He leads the nation with 18 broken up passes and is tied for second with 20 passes defended, while making 51 tackles with four tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
LB C.J. Mosley (6-2, 232, Jr., Theodore, Ala.)
Leads the team with 99 tackles and was a finalist for the Butkus Award, which goes to the country’s best linebacker. He has seven tackles for loss, four sacks, two interceptions, two pass breakups, one recovered fumble and a forced fumble. Mosley’s three career interception returns for touchdowns also tie an Alabama record.
C Barrett Jones (6-5, 302, Sr., Germantown, Tenn.)
Two-time consensus All-American, earning accolades in 2011 at left tackle and then at center in 2012. He won the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s top center this season. A three-time All-SEC selection (right guard, left tackle and center), he helped Alabama average 224.6 rushing yards per game while not allowing a sack in this season.
NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH (12-0)
Head Coach: Brian Kelly (Assumption ’83)
Overall/Years: 199-67-2(.746)/22nd Season
ND/Years: 28-10 (.737)/Third Season
National Rankings: BCS (1st); Harris (1st); USA Today (1st); AP (1st)
ND Bowl Appearances: 31
ND Bowl Record: 15-16 (.484); 2-0 vs. Alabama
TE Tyler Eifert (6-6, 251, Sr., Ft. Wayne, Ind.)
Winner of the John Mackey Award that goes to college football’s best tight end. Eifert had 44 receptions for 624 yards and four touchdowns as the top-ranked Irish finished the season unbeaten. His reception late in the game against Michigan iced a 13-6 Notre Dame victory.
LB Manti Te’o (6-2, 255, Sr., Laie, Hawaii)
The senior has 103 tackles and seven interceptions. Te’o has registered three-straight 100-plus tackle seasons and ranks third in Notre Dame history for career tackles at 427. His seven interceptions are tied for third in the Football Bowl Subdivision and leads all FBS linebackers. Te’o owns the school record for interceptions by a linebacker in a single season and no FBS linebacker has registered more single-season interceptions than Te’o since 2001. He has generated nine total turnovers (two fumble recoveries), which is tied for tops in the FBS. Te’o has played a role in 11 of the 23 turnovers forced by Notre Dame’s de- fense.
OL Mike Golic, Jr. (6-3, 300, Sr., West Hartford, Conn.)
Golic has started all 12 games at guard on a Notre Dame offensive line that has helped pave for one of the most productive offenses in school history. This year’s 2012 squad is the first since the 1977 national championship team to average at least 200 yards on both the ground (202.5) and through the air (218.8).
QB Everett Golson (6-0, 185, So., Myrtle Beach, S.C.)
Golson threw for 2,135 yards and 11 scores with five interceptions for a 131.8 rating, while rushing for 305 yards and five touchdowns. Helped to power an offense that’s 11th in the nation in time of possession at 32 minutes, 34 seconds per game. Notre Dame is averaging 202.5 rushing yards.
Record: Notre Dame leads, 5-1
Last: Notre Dame, 37-6 (1987 at South Bend)
SERIES: Alabama (12-1 overall) and Notre Dame (12-0) have met six times in their storied histories, but will be meeting for the first time since 1987. … Notre Dame owns a 5-1-0 series lead over the Crimson Tide with two of the games taking place in the postseason.
GAME NOTES: The teams first met in the 1973 Sugar Bowl when the Irish won a memorable 24-23 verdict over the Crimson Tide in a game that decided that season’s national championship. … The squads matched up again following the next season with Notre Dame squeaking past Alabama, 13-11, in the 1975 Orange Bowl game to cap the 1974 season. … Alabama and Notre Dame met in regular season con- tests in 1976 (a 21-18 Notre Dame win at South Bend, Ind.), 1980 (a 7-0 Notre Dame win at Birmingham, Ala.), 1986 (a 28-10 Alabama victory in Birmingham) and 1987 (a 37-6 Notre Dame win at South Bend). …The Crimson Tide will be making its third appearance in the BCS National Championship Game in the last four seasons. Alabama defeated Texas, 37-21, in the 2010 contest played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., and then defeated LSU, 21-0, in the 2012 title game played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La. … Notre Dame is making its first appearance in the BCS national championship game. …The Crimson Tide is making its fifth BCS bowl appearance and fourth in the last five seasons under Saban. … Alabama also appeared in the 2000 Orange Bowl (a 35-34 loss to Michigan in overtime.