Teams: #1 Notre Dame Irish versus the #2 Alabama Crimson Tide
Where: Miami, Fla., Sun Life Stadium (Capacity of 75,540)
TV schedule: Jan. 7, 7:30 p.m. Central, ESPN
Stakes: Alabama whomped LSU 21-0 in last year's rematch title game. And stomped Colt McCoy and then Texas 37-21 in the previous game. Can Notre Dame's strong front seven, led by Heisman candidate linebacker Manti Te'o at least make this an interesting game -- if not leading the Irish to their first NCAA championship in decades?
Betting Lines: Most books look to have Alabama at a near 10 point favorite.
Iowa Connections: Of the two teams, only Notre Dame has players with Iowa ties, featuring West Des Moines native Eric Lee and Bettendorf native Kevin Walsh.
Notre Dame also has several University of Iowa ties at the coaching level, as Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Bobby Diaco played for Iowa under Hayden Fry as an All-Big Ten performer and his career 334 tackles still has him in the Iowa record books. Co-defensive coordinator Kerry Cooks also played for Iowa, and former Iowa strength and conditioning coordinator Paul Longo does the weight training for the Irish. Defensive backs coach Bobby Elliott, who also played at Iowa, is an Iowa City native, and son of former athletic director Bump Elliott.
But the ties run even deeper than that when you're talking the state of Iowa and the Notre Dame staff, according to this interesting article from the Des Moines Register.
Alabama Roster (via Alabama University site)NONAMEPOSClassHT/WTEXPHometown (Last School) 14 Edward Aldag Quarterback FR 6-0/183 HS Birmingham, Ala. (Mountain Brook) 7 Ryan Anderson Linebacker FR 6-2/252 HS Daphne, Ala. (Daphne) 19 Jonathan Atchison Linebacker JR 6-3/236 SQ Atlanta, Ga. (Douglass) 94 Dakota Ball Defensive Line FR 6-2/295 HS Lindale, Ga. (Pepperell) 87 Parker Barrineau Wide Receiver SO 6-0/175 SQ Northport, Ala. (American Christian Academy) 7 Kenny Bell Wide Receiver JR 6-1/180 2L Rayville, La. (Rayville) 13 Deion Belue Defensive Back JR 5-11/179 JC Tuscambia, Ala. (Northeast Mississippi CC) 31 Jerrod Bierbower Defensive Back SO 6-1/185 SQ Dublin, Ohio (Coffman) 5 Chris Black Wide Receiver FR 5-11/178 HS Jacksonville, Fla. (First Coast) 93 Chris Bonds Defensive Line JR 6-4/273 SQ Columbia, S.C. (Richland Northeast) 22 Hunter Bush Defensive Back SR 5-11/195 SQ Wetumpka, Ala. (Wetumpka) 21 Brent Calloway Running Back/Tight End FR 6-1/217 RS Russellville, Ala. (Russellville) 17 Caleb Castille Defensive Back SO 5-11/170 SQ Birmingham, Ala. (Briarwood Christian) 6 Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix Defensive Back SO 6-1/209 1L Orlando, Fla. (Dr. Phillips) 26 Landon Collins Defensive Back FR 6-0/202 HS Geismar, La. (Dutchtown) 18 Levi Cook Defensive Back SR 5-10/190 SQ Decatur, Ala. (Decatur) 9 Amari Cooper Wide Receiver FR 6-1/198 HS Miami, Fla. (Northwestern) 33 Trey DePriest Linebacker SO 6-2/245 1L Springfield, Ohio (Springfield) 30 Denzel Devall Linebacker FR 6-2/243 HS Bastrop, La. (Bastrop) 90 Quinton Dial Defensive Line SR 6-6/304 1L Pinson, Ala. (East Mississippi CC) 55 Josh Dickerson Linebacker SO 6-1/238 SQ Evans, Ga. (Lakeside) 47 Xzavier Dickson Linebacker SO 6-3/262 1L Griffin, Ga. (Griffin) 98 Dillon Drake Kicker SO 5-9/175 SQ Fort Walton Beach, Fla. (Choctawhatchee) 17 Kenyan Drake Running Back FR 6-1/204 HS Powder Spring, Ga. (Hillgrove) 19 Dustin Ellison Quarterback SO 6-0/180 SQ Monroeville, Ala. (Monroe Academy) 12 Phillip Ely Quarterback FR 6-1/198 RS Tampa, Fla. (Plant) 85 Malcolm Faciane Tight End FR 6-5/259 RS Picayune, Miss. (Picayune Memorial) 44 LaMichael Fanning Defensive Line FR 6-7/298 RS Hamilton, Ga. (Harris County) 76 D.J. Fluker Offensive Line JR 6-6/335 2L Foley, Ala. (Foley) 43 Cade Foster Placekicker JR 6-1/218 2L Southlake, Texas (Southlake Carroll) 45 Jalston Fowler Running Back JR 6-1/242 2L Mobile, Ala. (Vigor) 41 Kurt Freitag Tight End FR 6-4/240 HS Buford, Ga. (Buford) 10 John Fulton Defensive Back JR 6-0/187 2L Manning, S.C. (Manning) 58 Brandon Greene Offensive Line FR 6-5/292 HS Ellenwood, Ga. (Cedar Grove) 99 Adam Griffith Placekicker FR 5-10/174 HS Calhoun, Ga. (Calhoun) 74 Caleb Gulledge Offensive Line FR 6-4/280 HS Prattville. Ala. (Prattville) 48 Rowdy Harrell Linebacker SR 6-0/221 SQ Moundville, Ala. (Hale County) 1 Dee Hart Running Back FR 5-9/190 RS Orlando, Fla. (Dr. Phillips) 36 Tyler Hayes Linebacker FR 6-2/210 HS Thomasville, Ala. (Thomasville) 34 Ben Howell Running Back SR 5-9/194 SQ Gordo, Ala. (Gordo) 42 Adrian Hubbard Linebacker SO 6-6/248 1L Lawrenceville, Ga. (Norcross) 62 Brandon Ivory Defensive Line SO 6-4/315 1L Memphis, Tenn. (East) 31 Kelly Johnson Tight End SR 6-3/230 1L Charlotte, N.C. (Providence Day) 35 Nico Johnson Linebacker SR 6-3/245 3L Andalusia, Ala. (Andalusia) 57 Aaron Joiner Offensive Line SR 6-2/265 SQ Florence, Ala. (Florence) 75 Barrett Jones Offensive Line SR 6-5/302 3L Germantown, Tenn. (Evangelical Christian) 22 Christion Jones Wide Receiver SO 5-11/185 1L Adamsville, Ala. (Minor) 8 Cyrus Jones WR FR 5-10/192 HS Baltimore, Md. (Gilman) 82 Harrison Jones Tight End SO 6-4/244 1L Germantown, Tenn. (Evangelical Christian) 70 Ryan Kelly Offensive Line FR 6-5/288 RS West Chester, Ohio (Lakota West) 85 Korren Kirven Defensive Line FR 6-5/292 HS Lynchburg, Va. (Brookville) 77 Arie Kouandjio Offensive Line SO 6-5/310 SQ Hyattsville, Md. (DeMatha Catholic) 71 Cyrus Kouandjio Offensive Line SO 6-6/311 1L Hyattsville, Md. (DeMatha Catholic) 42 Eddie Lacy Running Back JR 6-0/220 2L Geismar, La. (Dutchtown) 95 Darren Lake Defensive Line FR 6-3/315 HS York, Ala. (Sumter County) 25 Dillon Lee Linebacker FR 6-4/240 HS Buford, Ga. (Buford) 37 Robert Lester Defensive Back SR 6-2/210 3L Foley, Ala. (Foley) 78 Chad Lindsay Offensive Line SO 6-2/290 1L The Woodlands, Texas (The Woodlands) 51 Wilson Love Defensive Line FR 6-3/281 RS Mountain Brook, Ala. (Mountain Brook) 68 Isaac Luatua Offensive Line FR 6-2/313 RS La Mirada, Calif. (La Mirada) 88 Josh Magee Wide Receiver FR 6-0/170 HS Hoover, Ala. (Hoover) 29 Cody Mandell Punter JR 6-4/202 2L Lafayette, La. (Acadiana) 20 Nathan McAlister Wide Receiver SR 5-11/165 SQ Russellville, Ala. (Russellville) 10 AJ McCarron Quarterback JR 6-4/210 2L Mobile, Ala. (Saint Paul's Episcopal School) 47 Corey McCarron Tight End SO 6-2/240 SQ Mobile, Ala. (Spanish Fort) 28 Dee Milliner Defensive Back JR 6-1/199 2L Millbrook, Ala. (Stanhope Elmore) 56 William Ming Defensive Line JR 6-3/283 SQ Athens, Ala. (Athens) 11 Alec Morris Quarterback FR 6-3/225 HS Allen, Texas (Allen) 23 Taylor Morton Defensive Back SO 5-11/185 SQ Centreville, Ala. (Bibb County) 32 C.J. Mosley Linebacker JR 6-2/232 2L Theodore, Ala. (Theodore) 64 Michael Newsome Defensive Line SO 6-2/250 SQ Cockeysville, Md. (Boys' Latin) 59 Harold Nicholson Offensive Linemen SO 6-5/292 SQ Columbus, Ohio (St. Francis DeSales) 83 Kevin Norwood Wide Receiver JR 6-2/195 2L D'Iberville, Miss. (D'Iberville) 46 Michael Nysewander Tight End SO 6-1/230 SQ Hoover, Ala. (Hoover) 53 Anthony Orr Defensive Line SO 6-4/258 SQ Madison, Ala. (Sparkman) 34 Tyler Owens Linebacker SO 6-0/220 SQ Columbiana, Ala. (Clay-Chalkville) 8 Jeoffrey Pagan Defensive Line SO 6-4/285 1L Asheville, N.C. (Asheville) 11 Tana Patrick Linebacker JR 6-3/236 2L Bridgeport, Ala. (North Jackson) 27 Nick Perry Defensive Back JR 6-1/208 2L Prattville, Ala. (Prattville) 57 D. J. Pettway Defensive Line FR 6-2/285 RS Pensacola, Fla. (Pensacola Catholic) 17 Parker Philpot Defensive Back JR 5-10/180 SQ Alpharetta, Ga. (Milton) 33 Marcus Polk Wide Receiver SO 5-8/180 SQ Lithonia, Ga. (Woodward Academy) 18 Reggie Ragland Linebacker FR 6-2/247 HS Madison, Ala. (Bob Jones) 54 Russell Raines Offensive Line JR 6-2/277 SQ Satsuma, Ala. (Satsuma) 13 Ty Reed Quarterback JR 6-1/190 SQ Rocky Hill, Conn. (Rocky Hill) 32 Trey Roberts Running Back FR 6-0/189 HS Mobile, Ala. (McGill-Toolen) 5 Jeremy Shelley Placekicker SR 5-10/165 2L Raleigh, N.C. (Broughton) 79 Austin Shepherd Offensive Line SO 6-5/312 1L Buford, Ga. (North Gwinnett) 67 Alex Shine Offensive Line FR 6-3/300 HS Scottsdale, Ariz. (Chaparral) 80 Marvin Shinn Wide Receiver FR 6-3/198 RS Prichard, Ala. (Vigor) 6 Blake Sims Quarterback SO 6-0/212 1L Gainesville, Ga. (Gainesville) 24 Geno Smith Defensive Back FR 6-0/182 HS Atlanta, Ga. (St. Pius X) 92 Damion Square Defensive Line SR 6-3/286 3L Houston, Texas (Yates) 61 Anthony Steen Offensive Line JR 6-3/303 2L Lambert, Miss. (Lee Academy) 49 Ed Stinson Defensive Line JR 6-4/282 2L Homestead, Fla. (South Dade) 3 Vinnie Sunseri Defensive Back SO 6-0/215 1L Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Northridge) 16 Bradley Sylve Defensive Back FR 5-11/178 RS Port Sulphur, La. (South Palquemines) 50 Alphonse Taylor Offensive Lineman FR 6-5/340 HS Mobile, Ala. (Davidson) 52 MK Taylor Long Snapper JR 5-10/210 SQ Oxford, Ala. (Oxford) 51 Carson Tinker Snapper SR 6-1/220 2L Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Riverdale) 52 Dalvin Tomlinson Defensive Line FR 6-2/266 HS McDonaugh, Ga. (Henry County) 84 Brian Vogler Tight End SO 6-7/258 1L Columbus, Ga. (Brookstone) 69 Paul Waldrop Offensive Line FR 6-4/267 HS Phenix City, Ala. (Central) 65 Chance Warmack Offensive Line SR 6-3/320 3L Atlanta, Ga. (Westlake) 23 Jabriel Washington Defensive Back FR 5-11/183 RS Jackson, Tenn. (Trinity Christian Academy) 21 Ranzell Watkins Defensive Back JR 5-9/172 SQ Charlotte, N.C. (Independence) 2 DeAndrew White Wide Receiver SO 6-0/185 1L Houston, Texas (North Shore) 46 Wilson Whorton Punter SO 5-10/175 SQ Leeds, Ala. (Briarwood Christian) 15 Eddie Williams Defensive Back FR 6-3/204 HS Panama City Beach, Fla. (Arnold) 20 Jarrick Williams Defensive Back JR 6-1/212 2L Mobile, Ala. (Blount) 54 Jesse Williams Defensive Line SR 6-4/320 1L Brisbane, Australia (Arizona Western College) 63 Kellen Williams Offensive Line JR 6-3/303 1L Lawrenceville, Ga. (Brookwood) 89 Michael Williams Tight End SR 6-6/269 3L Reform, Ala. (Pickens County) 18 Nick Williams Wide Receiver JR 5-10/185 SQ Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas) 81 Danny Woodson Jr. Wide Receiver FR 6-1/195 RS Mobile, Ala. (LeFlore) 4 T.J. Yeldon Running Back FR 6-2/216 HS Daphne, Ala. (Daphne)
Notre Dame Roster (via Notre Dame's site)No.NamePositionHt./Wt.Yr.Hometown/High School 46 Anderson, Josh Wide Receiver 5-9/180 FR Chatsworth, CA/Notre Dame 4 Atkinson III, George Running Back 6-1/210 SO Stockton, CA/Granada 43 Atkinson, Josh Cornerback 5-11/185 SO Stockton, CA/Granada 16 Badger, Chris Safety 6-0/193 FR Provo, UT/Timpview 29 Baratti, Nicky Safety 6-1/206 FR Tomball, TX/Klein Oak 49 Breslau, Blake Safety 5-10/185 SR San Diego, CA/Francis Parker 27 Brindza, Kyle Kicker/Punter 6-1/225 SO Canton, MI/Plymouth 2 Brown, Chris Wide Receiver 6-2/172 FR Hanahan, SC/Hanahan 21 Brown, Jalen Cornerback 6-1/199 SO Irving, TX/MacArthur 44 Calabrese, Carlo Inside Linebacker 6-1/245 SR Verona, NJ/Verona 3 Carlisle, Amir Running Back 5-10/185 SO Santa Clara,CA/Kings Academy 67 Carr, Kevin Defensive End 6-7/325 JR Nashville, TN/Montgomery Bell Academy 47 Cavalaris, Connor Safety 6-0/194 SO Lake Forest, IL/Lake Forest 52 Cave, Braxston Center 6-3/304 GS Granger, IN/Penn 28 Collinsworth, Austin Safety 6-1/202 JR Fort Thomas, KY/Highlands 30 Councell, Ben Outside Linebacker 6-5/240 SO Asheville, NC/A.C. Reynolds 60 Cowart, Jordan Long Snapper 6-2/230 SR Plantation, FL/St. Thomas Aquinas 61 Daly, Scott Long Snapper 6-2/245 FR Downers Grove, IL/South 10 Daniels, DaVaris Wide Receiver 6-2/190 SO Vernon Hills, IL/Vernon Hills 91 Day, Sheldon Defensive End 6-2/286 FR Indianapolis, IN/Warren Central 80 Eifert, Tyler Tight End 6-6/251 SR Ft. Wayne, IN/Bishop Dwenger 41 Farley, Matthias Safety 5-11/200 SO Charlotte, NC/Christian 82 Ferguson, Justin Wide Receiver 6-2/196 FR Pembroke Pines, FL/Flanagan 17 Fiessinger, Charlie Quarterback 6-1/185 SO Mason, OH/Moeller 38 Fitzpatrick, Nick Wide Receiver 5-8/170 SR Mishawaka, IN/Marian 48 Fox, Dan Inside Linebacker 6-3/240 SR Rocky River, OH/St. Ignatius 73 Furlong, Dan Offensive Line 6-7/250 FR Livonia, MI/Orchard Lake St. Mary's 88 Golic, Jake Tight End 6-4/245 SR West Hartford, CT/Northwest Catholic 57 Golic Jr., Mike Center/Offensive Guard 6-3/300 GS West Hartford, CT/Northwest Catholic 5 Golson, Everett Quarterback 6-0/185 SO Myrtle Beach, SC/Myrtle Beach 81 Goodman, John Wide Receiver 6-3/215 GS Fort Wayne, IN/Bishop Dwenger 59 Grace, Jarrett Inside Linebacker 6-3/240 SO Cincinnati, OH/Colerain 65 Hanratty, Conor Center/Offensive Guard 6-5/305 SO New Canaan, CT/New Canaan 4 Hardy, Eilar Safety 5-11/185 SO Reynoldsburg, OH/Pickerington Central 75 Harrell, Mark Offensive Line 6-4/287 FR Charlotte, NC/Catholic 77 Hegarty, Matt Center 6-5/296 SO Aztec, NM/Aztec 51 Heggie, Bruce Center 6-5/285 JR Sorrento, FL/Mount Dora 12 Hendrix, Andrew Quarterback 6-2/220 JR Cincinnati, OH/Moeller 50 Hounshell, Chase Defensive End 6-4/275 SO Kirtland, OH/Lake Catholic 2 Jackson, Bennett Cornerback 6-0/185 JR Hazlet, NJ/Raritan 94 Jones, Jarron Defensive End 6-5/299 FR Rochester, NY/Aquinas Institute 7 Jones, TJ Wide Receiver 5-11/190 JR Roswell, GA/Gainesville 1 Kiel, Gunner Quarterback 6-4/210 FR Columbus, IN/Columbus East 18 Koyack, Ben Tight End 6-5/253 SO Oil City, PA/Oil City 37 Lee, Eric Wide Receiver 5-9/180 SO West Des Moines, IA/Dowling Catholic 89 Lewis-Moore, Kapron Defensive End 6-4/306 GS Weatherford, TX/Weatherford 39 Liebscher, Ryan Wide Receiver 5-11/205 JR Colorado Springs, CO/Cheyenne Mountain 93 Little, Connor Outside Linebacker 6-3/225 SO Lake Elmo, MN/Hill-Murray 74 Lombard, Christian Offensive Guard/Tackle 6-5/309 JR Inverness, IL/Fremd 32 Mahone, Will Running Back 5-10/211 FR Austintown, OH/Fitch 71 Mahoney, Dennis Offensive Tackle 6-7/294 SR Baltimore, MD/Boys Latin School 72 Martin, Nick Offensive Guard/Tackle 6-4/290 SO Indianapolis, IN/Bishop Chatard 70 Martin, Zack Offensive Tackle 6-4/304 SR Indianapolis, IN/Bishop Chatard 86 Martinez, Arturo Defensive End 6-4/250 JR Miami, FL/Belen Jesuit 83 Martinez, Gerard Wide Receiver 6-1/200 FR Las Vegas, NV/Cimarron Memorial 14 Massa, Luke Wide Receiver 6-4/225 JR Cincinnati, OH/St. Xavier 15 McCarthy, Dan Safety 6-2/205 GS Youngstown, OH/Cardinal Mooney 33 McDaniel, Cam Running Back/Cornerback 5-10/195 SO Coppell, TX/Coppell 46 McOsker, Eamon Safety 6-1/200 FR San Pedro, CA/Loyola 8 Moore, Kendall Inside Linebacker 6-1/242 JR Raleigh, NC/Southeast Raleigh 17 Motta, Zeke Safety 6-2/215 SR Vero Beach, FL/Vero Beach 19 Neal, Davonte' Wide Receiver 5-9/171 FR Scottsdale, AZ/Central 64 Nichols, Tate Offensive Tackle 6-8/320 JR Walton, KY/Ryle 85 Niklas, Troy Tight End 6-7/260 SO Fullerton, CA/Servite 9 Nix III, Louis Nose Guard 6-3/326 JR Jacksonville, FL/Raines 45 Okwara, Romeo Outside Linebacker 6-4/239 FR Charlotte, NC/Ardrey Kell 63 Patton, Grant Defensive End 6-6/256 SR Louisville, KY/Saint Xavier 49 Plantz, Tyler Running Back 5-9/202 JR Frankfort, IL/Providence Catholic 34 Prosise, C.J. Safety 6-2/208 FR Petersburg, VA/Woodberry Forest 56 Rabasa, Anthony Outside Linebacker 6-3/240 SO Miami, FL/Columbus 11 Rees, Tommy Quarterback 6-2/210 JR Lake Forest, IL/Lake Forest 39 Rhodes, Jude Kicker/Punter 5-10/180 JR Kapsowar, Kenya/Nordhoff (Ojai, CA) 6 Riddick, Theo Running Back 5-11/200 SR Manville, NJ/Immaculata 35 Romano, Joe Cornerback 5-9/175 JR River Forest, IL/Fenwick 6 Russell, KeiVarae Cornerback 5-11/182 FR Everett, WA/Mariner 24 Salvi, Chris Safety 5-10/190 SR Lake Forest, IL/Carmel Catholic 36 Salvi, Will Cornerback 5-10/176 SR Lake Forest, IL/Carmel Catholic 38 Schmidt, Joe Inside Linebacker 6-0/230 SO Orange, CA/Mater Dei 96 Schwenke, Kona Nose Guard 6-4/290 JR Hauula, HI/Kahuku 55 Shembo, Prince Outside Linebacker 6-2/250 JR Charlotte, NC/Ardrey Kell 22 Shumate, Elijah Safety 6-0/198 FR East Orange, NJ/Don Bosco Prep 26 Slaughter, Jamoris Safety 6-0/20