Head says a big Alabama win.
I keep coming back to two things: How much does Everett Golson show up and how much Alabama's offense can keep the ball moving towards the goal lines? Looking over Notre Dame's schedule, they have some underwhelming wins: Boston College (scored 21 points, the second fewest points of any DI team against the Eagles, Maryland only scored 20), Pitt (needed 2 late TDs and 3OTs, and some terrible FG kicking to outlast a mediocre Big East team), and Purdue (needed a late drive and some help to kick a game winning FG).
They also had some pretty good wins, notably beating Rose Bowl champ Stanford and the thrashing they put on Oklahoma in Norman. They also beat up on a decent Miami team in Chicago. Notre Dame's defense has carried them this far, which makes me think my second question becomes the money question.
While Alabama has only given up over 20 points twice this year (Texas A&M and Georgia), Notre Dame has only give up that many once (Pitt). They held Michigan to 6. Alabama allowed them 14. Overall, Alabama's defense is better, but Notre Dame's has been scrappier.
Looking at all of that, I still think Alabama wins. It could be a smack down, but in all likelihood, it'll be a fairly close game. As much as I'd like to say Alabama will try to run the ball and control the game clock, looking at NDs rushing defense, it is more likely we'll see the dink and dunk passing game with some long shots thrown in for good measure from McCarron. It isn't that Notre Dame can't stop that, I believe they can. The real question is can they stop it enough to be able to score enough points to win?
I don't think they can. Look for the Tide to win 27-16 or so, with McCarron getting the MVP.