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Notre Dame football: One former SEC coach thinks Irish can topple Alabama

A former Arkansas and Ole Miss head coach thinks it would be tough, but Notre Dame has what it takes to beat Alabama if they played in the national championship game.

Jonathan Daniel

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Alabama Crimson Tide are slotted into the top two spots in the BCS standings, meaning those two will face off for the national championship if the status quo holds. This has many questioning whether the Irish could beat the Tide. Many don't give them much of a shot, but one former SEC coach thinks they can spring the upset: Houston Nutt.

"I think they could," Houston Nutt, who coached at Arkansas and Ole Miss, said. "The thing that would be different for them, the thing that you still don't know is when they play Alabama, Florida, Texas A&M, Georgia back-to-back-to-back, it's that grind. And if you just look at their team, I feel like they've got a very good defensive team, a very good offensive team, special teams they don't beat themselves, they're physical -- all those things."

The Irish play much like a traditional SEC team, in that they rely primarily on defense and score enough on offense to get by. They'd face a similar team in Alabama, except the Crimson Tide offense has taken a step forward this year in terms of scoring. Early projections have the Irish as much as a two-touchdown underdog against Alabama, but big underdogs have won games before. The one-month time gap between the end of the regular season and bowl games has caused offenses to struggle in the past, but defenses usually come out strong. That's something on which Notre Dame could rely.