Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Notre Dame has won 11 national titles in football, but hasn't earned one since 1988.
Only the No. 1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Ohio State Buckeyes made it through their entire regular season schedule without a loss. Due to sanctions that prevent the Buckeyes from participating in a bowl game, the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide are the ones that will get a chance to hand the Irish their first defeat in the BCS National Championship.
However, it's Alabama that enters the game favored by as many as 10 points in some sports books, according to OddsShark. College football experts agree with the odds makers and are almost all taking the Crimson Tide to win Monday's game.
Jerry Palm of CBS Sports predicts a close affair, but ultimately thinks that Alabama will be able to make the big plays necessary due to their veteran signal-caller.
BCS Championship Game: Jan. 7, Alabama (-9.5) 20, Notre Dame 17 -- The Irish defense has withstood every challenge this year, and here comes the best one yet. Alabama's offensive line is littered with All-Americans, and if they can do what no other team has done so far, run the ball effectively against Notre Dame, they may cover that lofty spread. I think it more likely comes down to a championship QB, AJ McCarron, making a championship play late in the game and giving the Tide it's third title in four years.
John Tamanaha of NBC Sports' College Football Talk doesn't think it'll be as close, instead taking Alabama to win and cover the point spread with a double-digit point spread.
The Irish beat representatives from five BCS conferences en route to 12-0, but not anybody from THE BCS conference. Until now. They'll meet their match and then some.
The pick: Alabama 24-13
Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated also selected the Crimson Tide to win, taking Alabama 17-10 over the Irish.
Both teams will struggle to run the ball against the other's front seven. Irish quarterback Everett Golson may be able to pick on the Tide's secondary early, but Nick Saban's team will eventually adjust. Meanwhile, after relying heavily on his tight ends, Alabama's AJ McCarron will eventually connect deep down the sideline with wideout Amari Cooper for a couple of game-changing plays.
Will Harris of ESPN wagered 29 confidence points that Alabama will come away victorious in the BCS Championship, although it was by a close, 17-13 margin.
Alabama may have a few more horses overall, but quarterbacks as mobile as Everett Golson have hurt Nick Saban's defenses in the past and Notre Dame's offensive brain trust can manufacture enough yardage to make this a closely-contested affair. The Tide isn't the most vulnerable of this bowl season's bumper crop of double-digit favorites, but it certainly isn't the safest.
The BCS National Championship is scheduled to kickoff at 8:30 p.m. ET in Miami, Florida and will be televised on ESPN.