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As good as ND is, Bama will prove to be a little better

Published 8:00am Wednesday, January 2, 2013

By Andy Graham

I’ve been writing this column for little over a year and I think it’s pretty obvious by now that my subject matter revolves around Auburn sports.
I think it’s important that different voices be heard and the Outlook does a great job in its diversity.
Luke obviously has ties to the Capstone and does a great job representing the Alabama nation.
Bruce does a great job as a neutral observer in the Civil War that goes on in this state every day of the year.
I hope I represent the Auburn voice as well as my colleagues do their own.
Believe it or not, I have a lot of friends that are huge Alabama fans.
My mother is a lifelong fan of the Crimson Tide (God forgive her).
While I normally refrain from commenting on Alabama (trust me Tide fans, that’s probably a good thing), this week I’m going to make an exception.
Quite a few people have asked me what my thoughts are on the upcoming national championship game, so I’ve decided to answer that question here today.
From an outside perspective, Alabama certainly appears to be the better team and a closer look at the numbers reveals that to be true, although not by much.
The margins may be a little closer than most people realize, but Bama is better in almost every statistical category.
Alabama leads the country in total defense giving up about 246 yards per game.
Notre Dame’s defense ranks sixth giving up about 286 yards per game.
That’s not an enormous difference, but Alabama’s a little better.
The Tide also leads the country in rush defense, allowing 79.7 yards per game.  The Irish also do an outstanding job against the run, giving up 92.4 yards per game and ranking fourth nationally.
Again, the numbers are very close, but Alabama’s a little better.
Offensively, Bama gains about 438 yards per game, while Notre Dame gains about 421 yards.
Alabama rushes for 224 yards per game and Notre Dame rushes for 202 yards per game.
The Golden Domers do have a slight advantage in passing offense throwing for 218 yards per contest to Alabama’s 214 yards.
To give the Irish full credit, they do lead the nation in the most important defensive category of them all, which is scoring defense.
They’re only giving up 10.3 points per game.
While that is incredibly impressive, Alabama is number two in the nation, giving up only 10.6 points per game.
Like I said, the numbers are very comparable, but Alabama is a little better in the vast majority of categories.
The biggest difference I see is in the overall depth and talent level of Alabama compared to Notre Dame.  Brian Kelly has done an outstanding job in making the Irish more physical than they have been since Lou Holtz was coaching, but Alabama simply has more athletes.
I believe the Tide has played a higher level of competition this year and I think their offensive line will eventually make the difference in the game.
I suppose there’s always the possibility something totally unforeseen could happen especially in a game with so much hype, tradition and history, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
It’s close for a half, but Alabama pulls away midway through the third quarter and wins 27-10.
Graham is a columnist for The Outlook.