I think you are paying a big tax if you want to back Alabama today. We have a couple things working for us here as I think everyone remembers that 2012 Championship game, and Notre Dame getting their asses kicked. A lot has changed since then, but I think that is part of the tax you pay here. I also think that Nick Saban with less than 2 weeks to prepare + holiday vs. an entire month to prepare are two different things. I’ve been very impressed with the Notre Dame staff and even though I went against them vs. Clemson I think this team has improved despite the spread nearly doubling from 2012.
Alabama’s defense will struggle at times here in my opinion. If you combine success rate offense, EPA run, and EPA pass, Notre Dame averages out #23 combined. Alabama has played 5 teams that averaged top 50, and in those games their defense gave up on average 32.2 points per game. We just saw the game against Florida where Kyle Trask torched them, and while Notre Dame doesn’t really have a Kyle Pitts or Toney at WR, they do have more of a balanced offense with a running game, and the feet of Ian Book, which is something Saban’s defenses have struggled with in the past.
Alabama’s offense will have its day against Notre Dame, but it’s worth noting that Alabama has played just two defenses ranked on average top 50 in success rate defense, EPA run, and EPA defense, and that Notre Dame’s average of 14.33 comes in the best. Alabama scored 41 against Georgia, and 41 against Miss State. If Notre Dame forced 4 turnovers in the two games against Clemson, and I think they may be able to force one here.
What scares me in this game as a Notre Dame backer is the fact that special teams is a huge edge for Alabama, but I think that gets offset here with Alabama being a 19.5 point favorite and looking to preserve the health of the team late in the game if they are up big leaving the back door wide open for a top 5 QB in the nation. It’s also worth noting that while Notre Dame has gotten their asses kicked in these BCS Bowl games/ Playoff games 0-6 SU & ATS their last 6 losing on average 24 ppg that this year is a bit different with the preparation time, and I believe Notre Dame’s offense is better. We also saw this program go toe to toe with Georgia last year losing 17-23 on the road, and in 2017 they lost 19-20 at home. That’s the same 2017 Georgia team that had Alabama down big at the half in the National Championship game. Georgia was up again this year on the road at Alabama 24-20, before the coaching advantage happened at the half, and Georgia’s passing game went in the shitter. I don’t see that happening here and I think Notre Dame can cover this spread worser teams have. Missouri lost by 19 to Alabama, Ole Miss by 15, Florida by 8, and Georgia by 17.
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