What you think will happen tonight? I think Bama will pull away in the third quarter to win 24-13.
FWIW, my non-scientific and non-expert reasoning is as follows:
*ND played a well-balanced schedule (no Western Kentucky or Florida Atlantic, unlike Bama), and they (of course) went undefeated. You can't take that away from them, and they showed themselves to be a very solid and consistent team. However, they played a number of close games against lesser teams - including a win at home against Pitt that required a missed FG in OT by Pitt's kicker. Also, ND's wins in big games look less impressive than they did when they were played. USC and Oklahoma, for example, just aren't as good as they were advertised to be, though Oklahoma is obviously much better than Lane Kiffin's salute to underachievement.
*Alabama played a less balanced schedule, with opponents ranging from the teams mentioned above to the Arkansas John L. Smiths to LSU and Georgia...I realize that LSU lost the Peach Bowl, but I still think of them as one of the best teams in the country...Bama also had four shut outs, which is impressive even if they were against poor opponents...As for the Tide's game against Texas A&M, there is both good and bad: It was a loss, something ND didn't have, but it was also a very close loss against a very good and very hot team.
* At the risk of being overly Michigan-centric and invoking the non-existent transitive property of football, my belief that Alabama will win is rooted primarily in the fact that the Tide trounced our Wolverines on a neutral field while ND needed a massive offensive implosion by Michigan to win in South Bend. I think 2012 Michigan would beat 2012 ND more than 50 out of 100 times. I think 2012 Michigan would beat 2012 Alabama...fewer...times than that.
1. The health of Barret Jones could make this a closer game, obviously;
2. I think Rees would be a better option against the Tide than Golson, as Rees's passing would give ND a chance against Alabama's semi-weakness, covering people downfield;
3. ND shouldn't be taken for granted. I think they would win this game 25-30 times out of 100;
4. Listening to Brent Musburger talk about Nick Saban and ND for three-plus hours would be intolerable. I strongly suggest watching without the sound;
5. This got really long.