College football analysts have been comparing Alabama and Notre Dame in every which way before the BCS championship game: Scrutinizing their offenses, trying to find a weakness in their defenses, breaking down coaching strategies and evaluating special teams. But even with all of their analysis, they neglect to analyze what really matters, and this is where we come in.

The Real Notre Dame-Alabama Breakdown Slideshow



The Fighting Irish Leprechaun is, given its name, literally always ready for a fight. With that wide stance, skinny arms, pencil beard and perpetual snarl, Clashmore Mike is ready to take on anyone foolish enough to mess with his pot o' gold (or BCS trophy). Alabama has the Big Al, the elephant. How the Tide adopted an elephant as mascot remains one of the biggest mysteries of our time. Regardless, Big Al looks angry about something, and somebody's gonna pay. That somebody just might be Clashmore Mike, and we'll take an eight-ton elephant over a 3-foot tall leprechaun every time. Edge: Alabama.


Talk Show Host

Notre Dame boasts talk show legend Regis Philbin while Bama backs morning show host Joe Scarborough. Regis co-hosted Regis and Kelly (and Kathie Lee before that)and hosted ABC’s Who Wants to Be [insert dramatic pause] a Millionaire? Scarborough hosts MSNBC’s Morning Joe, which isn't nearly the same kid of smash hit in the ratings. No contest. Edge: Notre Dame.


Reviled Executive

Not an uplifting category, but important nonetheless. Notre Dame alum Vince Naimoli was known for being stickler for the no-outside-food policy when he was owner of the Tampa Bay Rays. This resulted in diabetic senior citizen being banished to her tour bus when brought snacks from home because of her condition. But Bernie Madoff attended Alabama for one year, and a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme trumps throwing an old lady out of a baseball game. Edge: Alabama (although a category to be proud of winning).


Sitcom Star

Hop into a time machine for a heavyweight matchup between two television legends: Alabama's Jim Nabors and Notre Dame's George Wendt. After rising to fame as Gomer Pyle in the 60's sensation, The Andy Griffith Show, Nabors gained even more popularity when he revealed his hidden talent for singing in later episodes and then got his own show. Wendt is most famous for his lovable, if oblivious, character "NORM!" on the 80's/90's hit Cheers. Norm may have been the better individual character, but Nabors' versatility and talent can't be ignored either. It's too close to call, so let's pull a Bud Selig/2002 All-Star Game move and say they're both winners.


Fictional Character

Forrest Gump went to Alabama on a football scholarship while fictional president of the United States, Josiah "Jed" Bartlet, from Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing, graduated summa cum laude from Notre Dame. Both universities are very lucky to have played fictional host to such outstanding fictional individuals during their fictional college years, and so the fictional matchup is a close one. It's a matter of opinion, but Gump gets the nod here due to the breadth of his fictional endeavors, and the fact that the movie won six non-fictional Oscars. Edge: Alabama.


'Lost' Villain

Alabama sends in Michael Emerson who plays Others mastermind, Benjamin Linus, while the Irish counters with William Mapother, who plays Ethan Rom a.k.a. the creepy guy from season one that abducts pregnant Claire. Nobody doubts that Ethan's inherent creepiness is an integral part of that season. But Linus' manipulation is one of the driving forces behind the entire series. Edge: Alabama.


Inspirational Movie

Alabama can turn to Forrest Gump again while Notre Dame sends in the ultimate underdog, Rudy. While Gump’s pursuit of Jenny is as hilarious as it is heart-warming, Rudy is arguably the greatest sports movie of all time. The scene where all of the players give their jerseys to Coach Parseghian still gives me chills. Edge: Notre Dame. (Note: This is not in violation of the "Double-Entry Clause" because Winston Grooms, author of the novel Forrest Gump, graduated from Alabama in 1965.)


ESPN Stars

Alabama pits Rece Davis in a Canadian Doubles matchup against Notre Dame's Mike Golic and Hannah Storm. Golic is hilarious on Mike and Mike in the Morning, and Storm is a pro's pro on SportsCenter. Davis is the king of Gameday, hosting both the football and basketball editions. It takes an immense amount of skill, patience and Xanax to be able to put up with Lee Corso for two-plus hours of live television on a weekly basis, but Golic and Storm's combined pedigree trumps Davis’ endurance. Edge: Notre Dame.


Coaching Short-Timer

In 2001, Alabama hired Mike Price and before he ever coached a game, he was fired for getting rowdy in a strip club, bringing two strippers back to his hotel room, and running up a room service bill upwards of $1,000. Two years later, Notre Dame hired George O'Leary, who lasted just five days because because he listed NYU-Stony Brook as his alma mater. The problem? NYU-Stony Brook doesn't exist. He also listed that he played football at the University of New Hampshire, which was also proved to be false. Alabama's gaffe was an oversight of character while Notre Dame’s was one of credentials. Since credentials are much easier to measure than character, the Irish takes this one. Edge: Notre Dame.

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And that’s it! Based on this foolproof analysis the Crimson Tide will roll on for the second consecutive year. However, you should probably watch the game anyway, just to make sure. It’s an exciting matchup, whichever way you look at it, and it’s definitely a game you won’t want to miss.

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