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Author: [College Football] Topic: ***** Alabama vs. Notre Dame Write-up *****
jimmydafreak send a private message View Space | Blog | Friends | Playbook | My Sportsbook: BookMaker |
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#1
Posted: 1/6/2013 7:43:36 PM
I have gone back and re-watch every Alabama and Notre Dame game this season (except Wake Forest), so needless to say I feel I have a very good handle on both teams and what they like to do.  I have a lot of information about this game in my head, but I’ll try to limit this write-up to what I feel are the most salient issues.  If you would like more information about specific thoughts I have on this game, just ask and I’ll do my best to respond.

In bringing Notre Dame back to prominence, Brian Kelly is emulating what Nick Saban has done at Alabama.  That translates into playing conservative smash-mouth football by running the ball, limiting mistakes, and winning games with stingy defense.  The problem for Notre Dame is now they have to play the team they are trying to emulate.  In short, they have to beat Alabama at their own game.

In the Saban era, when Alabama has played out-of-conference teams that are molded in, and adhere to the smash-mouth philosophy, (Virginia Tech, Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan) I have successfully bet huge on Alabama.  I do so because these are ideal matchups for Alabama.  That is so because Saban has built Alabama from the ground up to win these type of games in the SEC, and Saban has essentially been able to recruit the best players in the country to implement this philosophy.

The types of teams that give not only Alabama trouble, but other SEC teams that implement (for lack of a better term I’ll call it) the Saban philosophy, are unconventional offenses that have dynamic quarterbacks.  In Alabama’s case it has been guys like Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, Johnny Manziel (all Heisman Trophy winners), and even Brian Johnson who have been Saban’s kryptonite.  Also take note of this season’s LSU/Clemson and Florida/Louisville bowl games.  LSU and Florida are both molded in the Saban philosophy.  As expected both teams dominated their opponents in the trenches, and dominating at the point of attack usually determines who wins football games.  But LSU and Florida both ran into dynamic QBs (Tajh Boyd & Teddy Bridgewater) who were able to carve up even the best defensive strategies designed to stop them.  That’s also why an unconventional team like Oregon would pose a much bigger threat/challenge to a team like Alabama than a team like Notre Dame.  Notre Dame falls right into the wheelhouse of the type of team Alabama is accustomed to playing, and specifically built to beat.

A big problem for Notre Dame is that while Alabama is quite accustomed to playing teams of Notre Dame’s caliber (if not better), Notre Dame has not really faced a team even close to Alabama’s caliber.  The closest comparison would be Stanford, and Stanford is not on Alabama’s level.  We saw something very comparably in the 2009/2010 national championship game when Alabama’s running attack was matched against the Longhorn’s #1 rushing defense In the country.  Both Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson ended up rushing for over 100 yards and scoring 2 touchdowns a piece, and they did so because Texas’ front 7 was not accustomed to playing against a running attack of Alabama’s caliber.

I liken it to learning how to hit a baseball.  Someone can learn everything there is to know about hitting a baseball, and can master the perfect swing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be able to hit a 95 mph fastball in the World Series.  In this game Notre Dame’s defensive front 7 has not faced an offensive line that is in the same universe as the one they will see tomorrow night.  So unless they’ve been practicing against the Chicago Bears’ offensive line, playing against an offensive line that is made up of 4 likely 1st round NFL draft picks is not likely to end well for the Golden Domers.  A national championship game is no time for acclimation.

*** Continued ***


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#2
Posted: 1/6/2013 7:44:53 PM
Notre Dame’s offense versus Alabama’s Defense

I think this is the salient matchup of the game.  This is where the rubber meets the road so to speak.  For Notre Dame this will be the best defense they have faced all season . . . by far.  If Notre Dame comes into this game with the same offensive mindset they have had all season, which is play extremely conservative, run the ball between the tackles, and rely on that running game to setup play action passing, it is likely they may not score a single point.  I say that because I think Notre Dame has very little chance of consistently running the ball against the #1 defense (also #1 rushing defense) in the nation.  This is a huge mismatch in favor of Alabama.  Alabama is just too big, too strong and too assignment sound to get consistently beat by a conventional running attack.

Brian Kelly is a smart offensive coach who knows how to attack weaknesses so I think he realizes that as well.  To move the ball consistently against Alabama’s defense, Notre Dame will have to be aggressive, do a great job of breaking tendencies, and most of all, Everett Golson will have to play the game of his life.  Golson will have to play the kind of game Tajh Boyd played against LSU.  It’s not that Alabama’s defense doesn’t have vulnerabilities that can be exploited because I’m pretty sure we all know they do.  The problem for Notre Dame is that those vulnerabilities are not in Alabama’s run defense, and running the ball has been the foundation of Notre Dame’s offense all season.

I think the bottom line here is that for Notre Dame to win this game, they will have to deviate from what they’ve done offensively all season, and they will have to be successful doing it.  If they come into this game doing what they’ve done all season which is pound the ball between the tackles and rely on their defense to win the game, this game won’t be competitive.

Alabama’s Offense versus Notre Dame’s Defense

Notre Dame’s defense is built very similar to Alabama’s.  They rely on their huge and very talented front 7 to shutdown the opposition’s running attack, focus on not giving up the big play, and are extremely stingy in the red zone.  They defend against the big play by playing 2 deep safeties, and when I say deep, I mean really deep.  I’m not sure if I’ve seen anyone play safeties quite that deep in a base defense.  It’s a defensive strategy that has served them well thus far because they’ve been pretty successful at stopping the run and pressuring the QB with just 7 guys in the box.

Much has been made of Notre Dame’s front 7, and with 3 potential 1st NFL selections amongst that group, the attention is warranted.  Alabama’s offensive line, however, is quite accustomed to playing against defensive fronts that are just as talented (if not more so) as Notre Dame’s.  Like Alabama, Notre Dame’s defensive front is also very disciplined.

The first thing that sticks out to me about Notre Dame is that they really did not face a single offense that was multi-dimensional all season.  The closest thing they faced to a multi-dimensional offense was probably either Miami or USC.  Nevertheless, week after week they could simply load up to take away the only dimension that posed any type of a threat to them.  Tomorrow night we will see Notre Dame have to defend for the first time all season an offense that can threaten them equally on the ground and through the air.  This will be by far the best offense Notre Dame will have faced all season.

*** Continued ***

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#3
Posted: 1/6/2013 7:46:43 PM
Notre Dame struggled at times stopping the run this season against teams whose offensive linemen were able to get to the second level and put bodies on their linebackers (Pitt &Stanford), and that is what Alabama’s line does best.  I’m quite sure Manti Te'o will get his share of tackles in this game, I just think the majority of those tackles are likely to occur 5 to 7 yards downfield.

Although Notre Dame’s back 7 is clearly not the strength of this defense, they don’t give up big plays.  They have more of a bend but don’t break mentality.  The athletes Alabama has at the wide receiver position with Amari Cooper, Kevin Norwood and Christian Jones (and others) is really a mismatch in Alabama’s favor.  This is an area of Notre Dame’s defense that clearly can be exploited.

With Alabama able to stress Notre Dame’s defense on the ground and through the air, I’m probably in the minority in believing that Alabama’s offense will not have much trouble moving the ball in this game.  The question is will Alabama be able to finish off their drives with touchdowns, or will they have to settle for a bunch of field goal attempts like they did in last’s season’s national championship game against LSU???

I get the Alabama/SEC hatred so I completely understand why most of the country is hoping for Notre Dame to once and for all to restore a little equality back to college football.  The problem is this really could not be a worse matchup for the anti-SEC crowd.  If Alabama had to play Notre Dame the week after the Georgia game, with Barrett Jones, Brandon Ivory, Kenny Bell, DeAndrew White out of the lineup, and AJ McCarron, TJ Yeldon, Kevin Norwood, Jesse Williams, Ed Stinson and several others limited with injuries, I would say this game would be a dog fight.  But with almost all of those guys back at full health Alabama is too talented and has too much depth for Notre Dame to compete for 4 quarters.  Absent some sort of miraculous metamorphosis from Everett Golson, I don’t see how Notre Dame scores enough points to keep this game competitive.  This game will play out much closer to the games Alabama played against Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State than one of the recent slugfests Alabama has had with LSU.

I predict Alabama will score somewhere between 27-37 points, and that Notre Dame will score somewhere in the 0-10 point range.  Because I don’t have much confidence in Notre Dame’s ability to score in this game, I will lean ever so slightly to the UNDER even though I won’t play it.

Score Prediction:  Alabama 34 Notre Dame 6

Alabama -10 (-105) “Max Bet”

Notre Dame Team Total UNDER 15 “Best Bet”





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#4
Posted: 1/6/2013 7:49:01 PM
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#5
Posted: 1/6/2013 7:50:53 PM
Awesome write-up thus far!!
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#6
Posted: 1/6/2013 7:51:25 PM
Appreciate the write up, still thinking but I like your analysis
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#7
Posted: 1/6/2013 7:51:39 PM
welcome  back  my friend   !!!!
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#8
Posted: 1/6/2013 7:52:39 PM
Good Luck!  
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#9
Posted: 1/6/2013 7:53:08 PM

Saw the rest....Superb writeup, will be tailing you...BOL!!!!

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#10
Posted: 1/6/2013 7:53:55 PM
Just curious, have you bet ATS against Bama all year?
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#11
Posted: 1/6/2013 7:55:15 PM
dang   mr    u gettng me all excited...im stuck like a bug and this is a bail out game...i loved  ND   m.l.    but man i am glad i read this post.  thanks for the great write up and im feeling better already....thanks ahead of time....   max wager  1000  beans for Poo
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#12
Posted: 1/6/2013 8:00:16 PM
welcome back jimmy, good to have your insite back. any leans on the ark st and kent st game?
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#13
Posted: 1/6/2013 8:00:35 PM

OUTSTANDING WORK

 

ROLL TIIDE ROLL

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#14
Posted: 1/6/2013 8:04:13 PM
As is always the case, I root for ya, Jimmy. Good luck my man
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#15
Posted: 1/6/2013 8:12:36 PM
Roll Tide
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#16
Posted: 1/6/2013 8:21:12 PM
QUOTE Originally Posted by Omerta:

Just curious, have you bet ATS against Bama all year?


Yes.  Western Kentucky and Florida Atlantic.  The times I didn't bet on Alabama I usually bet on the UNDER because I thought the UNDER was a better bet.  The Texas A&M and the Georgia games are perfect examples.  In the WKU and FAU games I was also bigger on the UNDERS than the side.


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#17
Posted: 1/6/2013 8:21:20 PM
good job man, rolling ahead with my bama futures bet. You're on target with that wonderful write up.
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#18
Posted: 1/6/2013 8:26:31 PM
  Very articulated writeup!  But lets think outside the box, Notre Dame will benefit from refs ...In this corrupt society, "Big Dogs have a hand everything in life," especially Billion dollar business we call "Football"  New York Yankees, Lakers,...etc  You get the idea..Look for Notre Dame to get most of the calls. I can see it now on tuesday news paper across the nation, "Notre Dame is back, defeated Almighty Alabamba Crimson Tide. There will be point shaving.   NOTRE DAME WILL SURELY COVER THE 10 pts .
Book it!!!! Take it to the Bank!
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#19
Posted: 1/6/2013 8:27:05 PM

Glad to see your shackles are off!!!

You still got Bama up to -14??

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#20
Posted: 1/6/2013 8:27:24 PM
Good luck!  On it as well -10

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#21
Posted: 1/6/2013 8:31:10 PM

I have it at 38-6 Bama. Only thing I'd add to the writeup is the fact this is the best passing game ND has played all year. They have faced a lot of bad QBs this yr but the one good one they faced Landry Jones threw for 356 yds vs them. I don't like ND's secondary at all. Zeke Motta is awful in coverage at safety and frosh CB KeiVarae Russell Bama will look to attack.

Bama can be beaten threw the air but how is ND going to beat them? John Goodman and Robby Toma are slower than molasses. Milliner will take TJ Jones for a majority of the game and Saban won't let Eifert beat them. Saban is from the Belichick coaching tree and one thing they do great is shutting down a teams #1 option.

ND is also terrible on special teams and nobody is talking about that aspect of the game as well. Bama has good returners on kicks and punts and I expect them to get past the 30 yd line all night to start drives.

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#22
Posted: 1/6/2013 8:32:02 PM
The Gospel!
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#23
Posted: 1/6/2013 8:32:30 PM
Love the public being all over ND too as 65% is on ND here according to covers. Yet the line opened at 7.5 and went right to 10.
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#24
Posted: 1/6/2013 8:33:24 PM
Well thats a heck of a write up Sir... Prolly the most detailed i ever viewd on covers... Thanks for taking all ur time and, all ur post this Season...
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#25
Posted: 1/6/2013 8:38:44 PM
QUOTE Originally Posted by strata11:

welcome back jimmy, good to have your insite back. any leans on the ark st and kent st game?


I really liked Arky State in this game intitially, but there are some things that really concern me about them, not the least of which is the departure of their head coach.  Even though Kent State can't throw the ball a lick, I think they are by far the more motivated team here.  I played Kent yesterday at +3.5 and ML @ +135.


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