Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Buildup to BCS Title Match Is as Epic as the Game Itself

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Buildup to BCS Title Match Is as Epic as the Game Itself

Article excerpt

In college football, tradition still carries merit, and it can be argued that no two teams have more winning tradition than Notre Dame and Alabama.

The stats are staggering. Between the Fighting Irish and Crimson Tide, there are 25 national championships, 157 consensus All- Americans, 1,691 wins and millions of loyal fans.

Their histories define them as college football's elite, and their present provides them an opportunity to bolster their resumes as these titans of college football clash in Monday's BCS National Championship Game at Sun Life Stadium.

The paths that have led Alabama and Notre Dame to South Florida guaranteed that the outcome Monday will mean more than just another trophy in one school's well-stocked trophy case.

There's not much that gets a rise out of Birmingham, Ala.-based radio host Paul Finebaum, but he can't recall a game as hyped as this one.

"There's some Shakespearian drama to this game that I can't quite describe," Finebaum said. "Just look in the thesaurus and look up the longest word with the most syllables that you can find and I'm still not sure you can adequately describe what we have coming up here."

The back story for the national title game has all the elements for great drama. For Notre Dame, once the nation's most-prestigious football program, the game presents an opportunity to reclaim its self-appointed place among college football's elite programs, and they'd have to take it from the one who took it from them.

"You have two blue chip stocks that are going to go against each other. You have two great programs with great traditions," Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said, noting that Alabama continues "to be the model in college football."

While Kelly is laudatory toward Alabama's performance on the field, it's the Notre Dame model off the field that is the sport's standard.

The Irish carry clout that no other team in the nation can match, not even Alabama. No conference can hold Notre Dame, who represents itself at a table among college football's power brokers. …

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