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Notre Dame Football

ISD Game Predictions: Alabama

January 1, 2021

It’s Friday, and that means game prediction time once again.  It’s simply a win or go home situation for the Irish.  Can Notre Dame bounce back from a disappointing loss to Clemson and upset No. 1 Alabama?  

Mike Frank

Unfortunately, I think we’re in for a long day today.  The Irish just don’t match up well against Alabama, and I also think the Irish are just too banged up health-wise to win this game.

I do expect Notre Dame to play better today, but there are just too many matchup problems for the Irish on defense, and I’m not sold the Irish can run consistently against the Tide defense, which they’d need to do in order to win, in my opinion.  

I wish I had a better outlook on this game, but I just don’t.  Notre Dame will play hard, but I just don’t see it ending the way we all want it to.

Alabama 42,  Notre Dame 24

Jamie Uyeyama 

I know that Notre Dame is going to play a better game than the one they played in the ACC Championship game. I know they deserve to be in the final four teams in college football. I know they are a very good team and may be the best team of the Brian Kelly era. 

Even knowing all of that, I still think it will be too difficult for them to pull off the upset in this game. Alabama is a bad matchup for them and to overcome that, they'll need to dominate an offensive line that hasn't allowed many defenders to get near Mac Jones. I just don't see that happening and without that, Alabama is going to win enough matchups against the Irish secondary to put up a good amount of points.

Notre Dame is going to have to score close to 40 or more to win this game in my opinion. Ian Book will have to go to another level to do that and I don't know if he can get there. 

The Irish put up a valiant effort, but can't take down Goliath. Alabama pulls away in the second half to get the win.

Alabama 45,  Notre Dame 24

John Brice

It's been a fun ride along this bizarre, unprecedented season of college football.

Brian Kelly's really had, in my estimation, maybe his finest season as coach; in part because Kelly almost seemed to forecast this College Football Playoffs run into existence around this team a year ago.

The Irish are a top-tier program and a really good team, but I don't like multiple elements about the matchup with top-ranked Alabama.

As good as Kyle Hamilton is, and I've likened him to Eric Berry in terms of the best pure, young explosive defensive backs ready to be a game-changer from Day 1 that I've closely covered, I don't overall like the matchup of the Tide wideouts against Notre Dame's secondary. It's an area I still think Notre Dame must overall get faster.

Additionally, I'm not sure if the Irish's pass rush and run defense can force Alabama into enough predictable situations to assist the third-down defense that has, over the course of this season, been so good for the Irish.

As one person with a scouting report on the game told me, "Bama offensively is so good that it's hard to outscore them. Have to limit their possessions and score TDs."

I just don't see Notre Dame effectively able to do that enough in this game.

Alabama 39, Notre Dame 23 

Matt Freeman 

Notre Dame is a much better program than it was in 2012 and only grumpy old men will think otherwise regardless of what happens on Friday. 

It's a classic game where Notre Dame's failures in recruiting and lack of elite athletes will be exposed. As I've said all week, Notre Dame is better than 125 other FBS programs, but it's just not better than three and maybe two as I do think the Irish would beat Ohio State this year. 

That said, they are facing one of the programs that has also gotten better since 2012. Notre Dame's secondary is a huge weakness and it's one of Alabama's strengths. But this game comes down to the trenches and I'm not sure Notre Dame's defensive line is going to hold up. It's the price you pay when you play 11 games and the advantage Ohio State holds over everyone as they aren't as banged up as everyone else and where Notre Dame's chances of keeping it respectable go out the window.

Alabama's offensive line is better than you think. 

I do think the Irish offensive line and Ian Book show up, but Notre Dame's lack of explosive playmakers will show in this game. You need guys to make plays after the catch and Notre Dame simply isn't there. 

It could very well end up similar to the LSU 63-28 victory over Oklahoma a year ago. 

Alabama 51, Notre Dame 24

Christian McCollum

I just can’t see it.

The Irish may not get absolutely steamed like they did in the ACC Championship Game, but the final result isn’t much different.

Brian Kelly is right, the Irish have significantly closed the gap talent-wise between themselves and the elite programs in the sport, but the gap still exists.

Notre Dame does have some success moving the ball, but again struggles to capitalize in the red zone and once the game starts getting away, it’s obvious field goals just won’t do.

For the most part, the Irish defense is able to limit the big plays, although DeVonta Smith gets loose for a long touchdown, but Notre Dame is unable to get off the field on third down enough and those long Alabama marches turn into long Alabama touchdown marches.

The narrative from the general public may not change much, but those who watch the game closely can see the Irish belong on the national stage even if they aren’t yet above all the rest.

Alabama 35, Notre Dame 10

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