Despite playing in the SEC and playing what many consider to be a tougher schedule -- the Alabama Crimson Tide still respect Notre Dame's defense and its ability to diffuse their high-scoring offense.
Alabama players spoke to the media on Thursday with an air of appreciation for what Notre Dame's defense is, and what it has achieved this season. Offensive guard Chance Warmack, who is already garnering draft buzz as one of the best linemen available, was singing the Irish's praises:
"It doesn't take them long to process the information in terms of who has the ball or what formation we're in. It takes a really special defense to do that, and that's what they are."
The Alabama Crimson Tide have been here before, winning the 2012 BCS National Championship. A team that exudes confidence understands what Notre Dame's defense is capable of, especially middle linebacker Manti Te'o -- 2012 Heisman Trophy runner-up. Te'o's instincts and ability to diagnose plays pre-snap set him apart from other middle linebackers the Tide have faced this season.
Monday night's game will be won in the trenches, and both sides are prepared for a battle between their offensive and defensive fronts.