Tag Archives: BCS countdown

Countdown: Zero days until the BCS National Championship Game

After nearly three weeks of watching days go by, the Daily Bama Blog countdown to gameday is finally over and the countdown to kickoff is in full swing. While the secondhand circles around the clock (and takes forever doing it), here are some things to watch for as Alabama goes for its 15th national championship.

In the final countdown post, Daily Bama Blog contributor Brett Hudson touches on a few points:

Alabama’s run game: Under Nick Saban, Alabama is 50-0 when it rushes for 140 yards or more. Notre Dame has given up 140 yards of rushing four times this season: however, one of them was in the season-opener against triple option practitioner Navy.

The early stages of the fourth quarter (if it’s close): Alabama fans remember how resilient the Tide proved to be in comeback wins against LSU and Georgia late in the year, but Saban-coached Alabama teams have done this more than once. Under Saban, Alabama has been the No. 2 team in the nation playing against No. 1 three times, coming out with a 2-1 record. Alabama beat the No. 1 Florida Gators in the 2009 SEC Championship Game before being No. 2 to LSU’s No. 1 for both meetings of the 2011 season, which they split.

Notre Dame’s knock for the season, the one weak spot of the resume, is how many close games it has been in with seemingly inferior opponents. But, the Irish have now proven the ability to win in the clutch. The Irish held Stanford out of the end zone in overtime to preserve its perfect record before battling with Pittsburgh for three overtimes, including holding the Panthers to three points in two possessions.

Individual matchups: Notre Dame has two offensive weapons that will line up at wide receiver at times throughout the night, despite starting at other positions.

One is tight end Tyler Eifert, who won the Mackey Award given to the nation’s best tight end.

The other is running back Theo Riddick, who despite leading the Irish in rushing yards and carries, will be a target-of-emphasis in the passing game when the Irish need a big gain.

Milestone watch: While the winner will definitely have their name etched into the history of college football, some Alabama players, or the team as a whole, can hit some historic milestones won or lose. Examples include:

–Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron needs nine completions against Notre Dame to reach 200 on the season.

–A win for McCarron would be his 25th as the starting quarterback for the Tide, tying him for fifth all-time with his predecessor, Greg McElroy. Jay Barker currently holds the program’s high mark with 35.

–Alabama needs 80 yards against the Irish to earn its 3,000th rushing yard on the season as a team.

–Individually, if T.J. Yeldon finds a way to run for a touchdown against Notre Dame, it would tie the school’s record for single-season rushing touchdowns by a freshman, tying the 12 Mark Ingram had as a freshman in 2008.

No matter what proves to be key in deciding the game, expect an incredible battle if the game remains close in the later stages: both teams are battle-tested and then some.

Hudson’s prediction: How do I think it’s going to shake out? I have Alabama winning 20-6. I think you will see the young quarterback billed as the bigger playmaker of the two, Notre Dame’s Everett Golson, try just a little too hard to make that play and throw an interception. When McCarron leads the Tide down the field for a touchdown to respond, the game will look like it’s over.

But not just yet.

Up 17-6, Alabama will have the ball with roughly seven minutes left and in desperate need of a few first downs, preferably on the ground, to ice it. The Tide will get just that and bring Jeremy Shelley on to send the game to its final 20-6 score with just a few seconds left for Notre Dame’s offense to turn its school’s greatest specialty, the Hail Mary, into its final play of a losing effort.

That way, the winning team’s defense will be on the field when the game is finally decided: the only way these two teams can end the game.

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Countdown: Two days until the BCS National Championship Game

Each day until the BCS National Championship Game, Daily Bama Blog contributor Brett Hudson will count down to kickoff, giving us bits and pieces of that day’s significance to Alabama and Notre Dame. Today is two days until the game, which means Brett is examining the number “two.”

–Alabama’s opponents are averaging 2.46 yards a rushing attempt by way of 421 carries for 1,037 yards.

–Alabama is No. 2 nationally in points allowed per game with 10.7, behind Notre Dame’s 10.3.

–Notre Dame has given up only two rushing touchdowns this season.

–Notre Dame has gone for a 2-point conversion twice and made it once. The Irish have not seen an opposing team go for 2.

–Notre Dame is tied with Florida State, Toledo and Ball State for second in the nation in field goals made with 24. Oklahoma State in No. 1 with 25. Alabama has made 15 this season.

–Ole Miss was 2-for-2 on fourth down against Alabama’s defense. Both conversions came on the same drive, which resulted in a touchdown that made the score 27-14 midway through the second quarter.

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Countdown: Three days until the BCS National Championship Game

Each day until the BCS National Championship Game, Daily Bama Blog contributor Brett Hudson will count down to kickoff, giving us bits and pieces of that day’s significance to Alabama and Notre Dame. Today is three days until the game, which means Brett is examining the number “three.”

–Alabama’s AJ McCarron has only thrown three interceptions this season, one of the lowest numbers in both the Southeastern Conference and the nation.

–Notre Dame is allowing 3.16 yards a rushing attempt: 351 carries for 1,109 yards. Alabama is allowing 2.46.

–Notre Dame is averaging 2.44 yards a punt return with 18 returns for 44 yards. That ranks the Irish 119th in the nation out of 124 FBS teams.

–The Irish have attempted five fourth-down conversions this season, converting on three.

–Alabama’s No. 3 is defensive back Vinnie Sunseri, son of former Alabama linebackers coach and current Florida State defensive ends coach Sal Sunseri. The sophomore, who graduated from Northridge High roughly 20 minutes from Bryant-Denny Stadium, is fourth on the team in tackles with 52. Sunseri has accumulated six tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

–Notre Dame’s lone No. 3 is reserve running back Amir Carlisle, who is in his first season with the Irish program after transferring to South Bend from USC. Carlisle has not carried the ball for the Irish despite playing in eight games
for the Trojans in 2011.

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Countdown: Four days until the BCS National Championship Game

Each day until the BCS National Championship Game, Daily Bama Blog contributor Brett Hudson will count down to kickoff, giving us bits and pieces of that day’s significance to Alabama and Notre Dame. Today is four days until the game, which means Brett is examining the number “four.”

–Alabama’s defense (second in the nation in scoring behind Noter Dame’s) is giving up only 4 yards a play (782 plays, 3,198 yards)

–To compare, Notre Dame is giving up 4.55 yards a play (757 plays, 3,442 yards)

–Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron is tied for fourth in the nation with David Fales of San Jose State in yards per pass attempt with 9.3. Georgia’s Aaron Murray is No. 1 with 9.8.

Robert Lester and HaHa Clinton-Dix lead the Crimson Tide with four interceptions each.

–Alabama has lost the time of possession battle four times this season, in games against Western Kentucky, LSU, Texas A&M and Western Carolina. The combined score for games in which Alabama loses the time of possession battle is 129-46 in the Tide’s favor.

–The Alabama defense has forced four shutouts this season: Western Kentucky, Arkansas, Western Carolina, and Auburn. The 2012 season was the first time Alabama has had four shutouts in one season since 1979.

–Alabama’s No. 4 is true freshman running back T.J. Yeldon, who came from Daphne High to the Tide and rushed for 1,000 yards. Yeldon has been the No. 2 running back in the 1-2 punch with Eddie Lacy.

–Notre Dame has two players wearing No. 4s, including reserve running back George Atkinson III. Atkinson, a sophomore from Stockton, Calif., has rushed for 361 yards this season on 51 carries. Atkinson has not been stopped for a loss this year. Notre Dame’s other No. 4 is sophomore safety Eliar Hardy from Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Hardy has not played this season after missing the 2011 campaign due to a knee injury.

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Countdown: Five days until the BCS National Championship Game

Each day until the BCS National Championship Game, Daily Bama Blog contributor Brett Hudson will count down to kickoff, giving us bits and pieces of that day’s significance to Alabama and Notre Dame. Today is five days until the game, which means Brett is examining the number “five.”

–Alabama is getting 5.56 rushing yards an attempt by way of 525 attempts for 2,920 yards.

–Notre Dame is getting 5 yards a rushing attempt (487 attempts, 2,430 yards). Alabama is getting just under seven.

–Notre Dame’s opponents have gotten five of their 16 fourth-down tries this season (31,25 percent).

–Notre Dame is getting 5.5 tackles per loss per game, tied for 72nd in the nation with Florida Atlantic.

–Despite not playing a down all season long, Alabama’s No. 5 has been one of the biggest stories of the last three weeks: true freshman wide receiver Chris Black. Black, making a return to his home state for the BCS National Championship Game as a Jacksonville native, should be ready to play against Notre Dame if the coaches decide to burn his redshirt and use him. Black missed the regular season with a shoulder injury he suffered in the preseason.

–Alabama has another No. 5, senior place-kicker Jeremy Shelley from Raleigh, N.C. Shelley is the only kicker in the nation that has not missed a kick this season, making 11 of 11 field goals and all 63 of his extra-point attempts.

–Notre Dame has two superstars donning the No. 5. Senior linebacker Manti Te’o, a Heisman-finalist, chose Notre Dame from Laie, Hawaii. Te’o leads the team in tackles by a longshot, with 103 compared to Zeke Motta and Bennett Jackson in a tie for second place with 61. Te’o has also recorded 5.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, 11 passes defended, two fumble recoveries and leads the nation with seven interceptions.

–Starting quarterback Everett Golson also wears No. 5 for the Fighting Irish. Golson is 166-for-282 on the season with 11 touchdown passes and five interceptions. Golson’s 2,135 passing yards ranks him 79th in the nation.

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Countdown: Six days before the BCS National Championship Game

Each day until the BCS National Championship Game, Daily Bama Blog contributor Brett Hudson will count down to kickoff, giving us bits and pieces of that day’s significance to Alabama and Notre Dame. Today is six days until the game, which means Brett is examining the number “six.”

–Alabama has converted on six of its 10 fourth-down tries this season.

–Notre Dame is averaging 6.03 yards a offensive play (839 plays for 5,056 yards). Alabama averages around seven yards a play.

–Alabama is averaging 6.23 tackles for a loss per game, tied for
23rd in the nation with Georgia and Orange Bowl-bound Florida State.

–Six is the number of teams separating Notre Dame from being the
worst team in the nation at scoring touchdowns in the redzone. Kansas, Vanderbilt, Toledo, Tulane, Boston College and Massachusetts have worse red zone touchdown percentages. Notre Dame has scored a touchdown on 19 of its 58 redzone trips. 32.76 percent of the time.

Adrian Hubbard leads the Crimson Tide with six sacks, tied for 69th in the nation (with way too many players to list).

–Alabama has two sophomores wearing the No. 6. On offense, backup
quarterback Blake Sims came to the Capstone from Gainesville, Ga. Sims is 5-for-10 for 77 yards through the air this season, also contributing 187 yards and two touchdowns on the ground as Alabama’s main option for a dual-threat quarterback.

–Defensively, HaSean “HaHa” Clinton-Dix has made an impact for the Tide as being the primary spy man when the Tide contained Denard Robinson in the season opener, plus intercepting an Aaron Murray pass in the SEC Championship Game (the one that paved the way for Quinton Dial to thoroughly clean Murray’s clock). Clinton-Dix, an Orlando native, has accumulated 30 tackles this season, 19 solo, to go along with four interceptions, returned for 91 yards, one forced fumble and 10 passes defended.

–Notre Dame has one freshman and one senior sporting the No. 6.
Freshman cornerback KeiVarae Russell is heading for a redshirt season in his first season with Notre Dame after leaving Mariner High in Everett, Wash.

–The other No. 6 is the more notable of the two, running back Theo Reddick. He leads the Irish in rushing with 880 yards on 180 carries and five touchdowns. Reddick is in his final season with the Fighting Irish after joining the program from Manville, N.J.

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Countdown: Seven days until the BCS National Championship Game

Each day until the BCS National Championship Game, Daily Bama Blog contributor Brett Hudson will count down to kickoff, giving us bits and pieces of that day’s significance to Alabama and Notre Dame. Today is seven days until the game, which means Brett is examining the number “seven.”

–Notre Dame has not only lost seven of its 18 fumbles this season, but also recovered seven of its opponents’ 17 fumbles.

–Notre Dame has thrown seven interceptions and seven passing touchdowns. Notre Dame’s seven interceptions have been returned for 25 yards.

–Alabama is averaging just under seven yards an offensive play (825 plays for 5,708 yards).

–Both teams are giving up roughly seven yards a punt return: Notre Dame stands at 7.3 while Alabama is at 7.67.

–Alabama’s 43 touchbacks this season on kickoffs ties it for 7th in the country with Arizona. Notre Dame is No. 58 with 25 touchbacks.

–Alabama has not had a game with more than seven penalties this season. Alabama committed seven against Michigan, Arkansas, Missouri and Mississippi State. Those seven penalties cost the Tide 55 yards against the Wolverines, 74 yards against the Razorbacks, 62 yards against the Tigers and 63 yards against the Bulldogs.

–Heisman finalist Manti Te’o has intercepted seven passes this season for Notre Dame.

–Speaking of breakout performances, Amari Cooper had seven catches for 162 yards and two touchdowns against Tennessee. He was the primary target for AJ McCarron‘s 306-yard and four-touchdown outburst against the Vols.

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Countdown: Nine days until the BCS National Championship Game

Each day until the BCS National Championship Game, Daily Bama Blog contributor Brett Hudson will count down to kickoff, giving us bits and pieces of that day’s significance to Alabama and Notre Dame. Today is nine days until the game, which means Brett is examining the number “nine.”

–Alabama has given up only nine rushing touchdowns this season.

–Notre Dame has a turnover margin of plus-nine.

–Alabama averages 9.2 yards per pass attempt when playing on the road or at a neutral site. That ranks the Crimson Tide at 87th in the nation. Notre Dame stands at 7.5 yards a pass attempt when away from home to rank 90th nationally.

–Alabama is tied for 9th in the nation in penalties (or lack thereof) with Maryland at 50. The Irish are 52nd in the country with 69.

–Alabama’s lone No. 9 on the roster is true freshman wide receiver Amari Cooper. Cooper, who will return to his hometown of Miami for the BCS National Championship Game, leads the Tide in all major receiving statistics with 53 catches, 895 yards and nine touchdowns. The closest threat to Cooper statistically is Kevin Norwood, who has tallied 26 catches for 395 yards and four touchdowns.

–One of Notre Dame’s two No. 9′s is also a wide receiver, senior Robbie Toma of Laie, Hawaii. Toma is 5th on the team in both receptions and receiving yards, with 24 and 252.

–No. 9 on the defensive side of the ball for the Irish is Louis Nix III, the 6-foot-3, 326-pound defensive tackle from Jacksonville that has been the center of a lot of talk regarding Barrett Jones‘ foot injury and the impact Nix could have. Nix is ninth on the team with 45 tackles, 15 of them solo efforts, and tied for fourth on the team with 5.5 tackles for a loss.

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Countdown: 10 days until the BCS National Championship Game

Each day until the BCS National Championship Game, Daily Bama Blog contributor Brett Hudson will count down to kickoff, giving us bits and pieces of that day’s significance to Alabama and Notre Dame. Today is 10 days until the game, which means Brett is examining the number “10.”

–Alabama has given up 10.7 points per game this season, second only to Notre Dame, who has given up 10.3.

–Alabama is averaging 10 yards a punt return. Even more specific, Christion Jones is averaging 10.6 yards a return despite splitting time with Cyrus Jones and Dee Hart. Christian Jones ranks as 27th in the nation in average yards a punt return.

–Notre Dame has had 10 plays of over 40 yards this season, ranking in a tie for 79th nationally with Maryland, Bowling Green, Pittsburgh, South Carolina and Texas-San Antonio.

–Alabama’s defensive No. 10 is defensive back John Fulton, who has gotten more and more playing time throughout the season before suffering a turf toe injury in the loss to Texas A&M. Fulton played a great deal of the Tide’s defensive snaps in the loss to the Aggies. Fulton is credited with 15 tackles and five pass break-ups on the season.

– Alabama’s No. 10 on offense is AJ McCarron, looking to win back-to-back national championships as the starting quarterback. The last quarterback to win two national championships in college was Tim Tebow at Florida, but he was not the starter for both seasons. The last one to win back-to-back titles starting for both teams was Tommie Frazier, who quarterbacked the Nebraska Cornhuskers to back-to-back titles in 1994 and 1995. McCarron has thrown for 2,669 yards and 26 touchdowns this season on 191-286 passing.

–Notre Dame’s No. 10 is its third-best wide receiver in terms of yards, DeVaris Daniels. Daniels, the sophomore out of Vernon Hills, Ill., has 375 yards on 25 catches this season, but no touchdowns. Daniels had seven catches for 86 yards in Notre Dame’s win over Pitt, his best game of the season.

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Countdown: 12 days until the BCS National Championship Game

Each day until the BCS National Championship Game, Daily Bama Blog contributor Brett Hudson will count down to kickoff, giving us bits and pieces of that day’s significance to Alabama and Notre Dame. Today is 12 days until the game, which means Brett is examining the number “12.”

–Alabama has lost 12 of its 24 fumbles this season. Notre Dame has only lost seven fumbles this season.

–Alabama’s opponent’s have attempted 12 field goals and only made five. Two of those misses were blocked.

–Alabama’s 63.45 yards per kickoff from the foot of Cade Foster ranks 12th in the nation. Notre Dame ranks 33rd in the nation with an average of 62.53.

–Alabama held Michigan wide receiver Roy Roundtree to 12 receiving yards. Roundtree ended the season with 64-, 139-, 83- and 92-yard performances against Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa and Ohio State, respectively.

–Alabama has one player who wears jersey No. 12: redshirt freshman quarterback Phillip Ely. Ely, a Tampa product, has split time as the AJ McCarron‘s backup with Blake Sims. Ely has attempted four passes, completing three of them for 42 yards and one touchdown.

–Of course, Alabama’s jersey No. 12 belonged to several guys who went on to play in the NFL: Joe Namath, Ken Stabler and Brodie Croyle.

–Notre Dame’s No. 12 is also an out-of-state quarterback, junior Andrew Hendrix of Cincinnati. Hendrix is labeled as a “change-of-pace” quarterback in his official bio, providing the Irish with a mobile quarterback threat. Last season, Hendrix came in for the second half of the Stanford game and contributed 249 yards and a touchdown through the air while adding 162 yards and a touchdown on the ground. This season, Hendrix has played in three games, gaining 41 rushing yards and 55 passing yards, but no touchdowns.

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Countdown: 13 days until the BCS National Championship

Each day until the BCS National Championship Game, Daily Bama Blog contributor Brett Hudson will count down to kickoff, giving us bits and pieces of that day’s significance to Alabama and Notre Dame. Today is 13 days until the game, which means Brett is examining the number “13.”

–Alabama’s plus-13 turnover margin this season is tied for 10th nationally with Northwestern and Louisiana Tech.

–Notre Dame has thrown 13 touchdown passes this season. Eleven have come from sophomore Everett Golson, while the other two are courtesy of Tommy Rees.

–Alabama has given up 13 first downs by penalty this season, making for 7.3 percent of the 176 first downs the Crimson Tide has given up this season (Notre Dame has given up 193 this season).

–Alabama held two LSU running backs, Michael Ford and Spencer Ware, to 13 rushing yards. Ware had previously rushed for 90 yards against Auburn, while Ford ran for 76 against Towson and 78 against Texas A&M.

–Alabama’s No. 13 is Deion Belue, junior cornerback in his first season as a starter after coming to the Crimson Tide from Northeast Mississippi Community College. Belue was committed to Alabama from Deshler High in Tuscumbia before going to junior college. Belue is credited with 36 tackles, 5.5 for a loss, and two interceptions. Belue has also broken up six passes and recovered one fumble.

–Notre Dame’s No. 13 is outside linebacker Danny Spond from Littleton, Colo. Spond, a junior, has played in 10 games this season and recorded 38 tackles, one for a loss. Spond has also intercepted one pass.

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Countdown: 14 days until the BCS National Championship Game

Each day until the BCS National Championship Game, Daily Bama Blog contributor Brett Hudson will count down to kickoff, giving us bits and pieces of that day’s significance to Alabama and Notre Dame. Today is 14 days until the game, which means Brett is examining the number “14.”

–Notre Dame has given up exactly 14 points once this season, in a 17-14 win over BYU. The Cougars, who beat San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl, were 23-36 for 177 yards through the air, but threw two interceptions.

–Alabama gave up 14 points to Michigan in the season-opening 41-14 win over the Wolverines. The Outback Bowl-bound Wolverines were 3 of 12 on third downs against the Tide, but did pass for exactly 200 yards. Notre Dame held Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson to 138 passing yards when the Irish played Michigan three weeks later.

–Ole Miss also scored 14 points on the Crimson Tide, doing it by going 8 for 17 on third downs and 2 for 2 on fourth downs. Ole Miss had six possessions that ended after three plays or less: three ended with punts, three ended with interceptions. The 14 points Ole Miss scored on Alabama was a season low until Georgia held Ole Miss to 10 points on Nov. 3. The Rebels will be playing in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham.

–Alabama has scored 41 touchdowns in 57 red zone trips, ranking the Tide 14th in the nation.

–Alabama’s No. 14 is Edward Aldag, a freshman reserve quarterback from Birmingham.

Luke Massa wears No. 14 for Notre Dame, a junior wide receiver from Cincinnati. Massa saw special teams action last season and switched from quarterback to wide receiver for the 2012 season.

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Countdown: 15 days until the BCS National Championship Game

Each day until the BCS National Championship Game, Daily Bama Blog contributor Brett Hudson will count down to kickoff, giving us bits and pieces of that day’s significance to Alabama and Notre Dame. Today is 15 days until the game, which means Brett is examining the number “15.”

–Alabama is 15th in the nation in scoring in the red zone, making 51 of 57 to stand at 89.47 percent.

–Alabama’s offense is No. 15 in the nation in scoring with 38.5 points a game.

–Notre Dame has the No. 15 rushing attack in the nation when playing on the road or at a neutral site, like the one the Irish will play in against Alabama at Sun Life Stadium. The Irish have rushed for 1,412 yards in six games outside of their home field. Alabama is eighth and Texas A&M is sixth, the only two SEC teams ahead of Notre Dame in that category.

–Notre Dame has given its opponents 15 first downs by penalty, making for 7.7 percent of first downs the Irish defense has allowed this season. Notre Dame has given up 61 on the ground and 117 through the air to give up 193 first downs this season. Alabama has given up 176.

–Alabama’s yards per kick return, 24.84, is best in the SEC and
15th in the nation.

–Alabama and Notre Dame are tied for 15th in the country in sacks
with the following programs: Florida State, Boise State, Fresno State and Penn State. Alabama’s 33 sacks have forced opponents to lose 191 yards, while Notre Dame has gotten 233 yards from their 33 sacks.

–Alabama’s No. 15 on the roster is Eddie Williams, a freshman safety who is redshirting this year.

–And, the obvious one, Alabama will win its 15th national title with a win over the Irish on Jan. 7.

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Countdown: 17 days until the BCS National Championship Game

Each day until the BCS National Championship Game, Daily Bama Blog contributor Brett Hudson will count down to kickoff, giving us bits and pieces of that day’s significance to Alabama and Notre Dame. Today is 17 days until the game, which means Brett is examining the number “17.”

–Alabama’s Eddie Lacy has scored 17 touchdowns this season, accounting for 102 points to rank in a tie for 32nd in the nation in scoring.

–Defensively, Alabama has seen its opponents go for it on fourth down 17 times, but only succeed seven times for a success rate of 41.18 percent.

–Notre Dame has forced 17 fumbles this season, recovering seven of them.

–Alabama has intercepted 17 passes this season. They have been returned for 221 yards and one touchdown, courtesy of C.J. Mosley against Michigan.

–The Crimson Tide ranks 17th in the nation in rushing first downs with 147 (Army is first with 236). Notre Dame is tied for 33rd with 124.

AJ McCarron‘s 66.8 completion percentage is tied for 17th in the nation with Shane Carden of East Carolina. Johnny Manziel and Connor Shaw of Texas A&M and South Carolina, respectively, are the only two SEC quarterbacks ahead of him. Notre Dame’s Everett Golson stands at 58.9 percent.

–Alabama has given up 17 red zone scores. Its opponents have visited the red zone 27 times this season.

–Both teams have given up exactly 17 points in a game this season. Purdue hit that number against Notre Dame while LSU scored that many against Alabama.

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Countdown: 18 days until BCS National Championship Game

Each day until the BCS National Championship Game, Daily Bama Blog contributor Brett Hudson will count down to kickoff, giving us bits and pieces of that day’s significance to Alabama and Notre Dame. Today is 18 days until the game, which means Brett is examining the number “18.”

–Notre Dame has returned 18 punts this season for only 44 yards. The average of 2.44 yards ranks the Fighting Irish 119th out of 124 FBS teams.

–Notre Dame has fumbled 18 times this season, losing seven of them.

–Alabama is 18th in the country in punting with an average punt of 43.85 yards (Notre Dame is 70th with a 40.56 average. The 43.85-yard average is an increase from averages of 39.2 and 39.3 yards for Cody Mandell in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

–Both T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy had 18 carries in the 42-10 win over Missouri. Lacy ran for 177 yards and Yeldon ran for 144.

–Alabama earned 18 first downs in the 21-17 win over LSU, being bested in that category by the Tigers, who had 22. The Tide made ine of nine third-down conversions in Death Valley.

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