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Mr. Sports: It all comes down to one game

By Bob Labbe

The college football bowl season really comes down to one game: The BCS National Championship.

Set for Monday, Jan. 7, (7:30 p.m.-ESPN) the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame will face the Alabama Crimson Tide in a battle of the unanimous No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in college football. This has become one of the most highly anticipated BCS title games ever.

Why?

Because the game matches the two most storied football programs in college football with 25 national championships between them, and only a small history of a head-to-head games. In six previous games between the Irish and the Tide, Notre Dame has won five of those battles. But you have to throw out the history of these two programs and concentrate on these two teams that come into the game not only ranked 1-2 in the national polls, but are also ranked 1-2 in defense.

Notre Dame has allowed just two rushing touchdowns all season with a front seven that is very good. Alabama also comes into the BCS Championship sporting what has been the top defense all season long and is currently ranked No. 1 in total defense and No. 2 in red zone defense.

So, where do these two teams differ?

The answer is offense, especially at the offensive line and at quarterback positions.

BCS Prediction

Behind Barrett Jones, the award winning top rated offensive lineman in the country, the Tide should have the advantage when it comes to pure football intangibles, plus quarterback A. J. McCarron has proven that he may be the coolest signal caller in the country. McCarron is the No. 1 ranked quarterback in passing efficiency, which means a great deal when it comes to handling the ball in crucial situations against good defenses. He just doesn’t make many mistakes.

On paper, Alabama looks to be the better team. But, this game is not played on paper. It will be played at Sun Life Stadium (better known as the Orange Bowl) in Miami with Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit handling the ESPN play-by-play.

My take on the game is the battle in the trenches will be among the best we’ve ever seen. The game will be close with Notre Dame possibly taking the lead at halftime. It won’t be until late in the third quarter when Alabama will take full control and go on to a 10-point victory. The game will come down to least mistakes wins.

Bowl Game Schedule

The remainder of the bowl game schedule leading up to the BCS National Championship is actually pretty good. Fiesta Bowl: Oregon-Kansas State (Jan. 3, 7:30 p.m.-ESPN), Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M-Oklahoma (Jan. 4, 7 p.m.-Channel 54), Compass Bowl: Pittsburgh-Ole Miss (Jan. 5, noon-ESPN) and the GoDaddy.com Bowl: Kent State-Arkansas State (Jan. 6, 8 p.m.-ESPN).

All-State Selections

Congratulations to players from Bob Jones and Madison Academy that were chosen All-State by the Alabama Sports Writers Association in its 2012 football selections.

Drew Davis was tabbed first-team All-State selection at linebacker while Bob Jones teammates Brandon Ray was an honorable mention for this play at offensive line.

Madison Academy, the Class 3-A State Champions, had three first-team selections. Running back Kerryon Johnson, offensive lineman Frank Williams and linebacker Taylor Zisk were named to the Class 3-A All-State first team while kicker Chandler Trach was named honorable mention.

Huntsville Havoc Hockey

Our hometown boys of hockey will play at home Jan. 3, 11 and 12. The Havoc are really beginning to play some good hockey with newly signed players and new leadership on the ice taking shape for a great second half of the season. My advice: check ‘em out!