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BCS Championship Betting Odds: Irish Number One, Tide Favored

Notre Dame should not feel slighted by the fact that they are nearly a 10 point underdog in the BCS National Championship game later tonight in Miami. After all, the Irish have been overlooked and under-appreciated for much of the season by fans and analysts.

Coming into the biggest game of the college football season, Notre Dame is the top-ranked team in the BCS and in all the major polls. It is defending champion Alabama, however, that is a 9.5 point favorite.

The Crimson Tide is looking for an unprecedented third national title in the past four years. No team has ever repeated as champion in the BCS era, much less won three times in a four year span. A win by Alabama would also cement Head Coach Nick Saban's place among the all-time greats.

Alabama is led by a defense that is the best statistically in the nation. Their offense has lost many starters off their title team from a year ago, but quarterback A.J. McCarron has steadied the ship for most of the year. The Crimson Tide has one of the best offensive lines in the nation.

On the other side, Notre Dame is in the midst of what was a three year plan from Head Coach Brian Kelly. Everything clicked for the Irish this season, and as they piled up win after win, some fans started to believe Notre Dame could reach the title game. When Kansas State and Oregon lost late in the year, it opened the door for Notre Dame to return to the title game for the first time since the BCS was created.

Manti Te'o finished second in the Heisman Trophy race, and came close to becoming the first defensive player to win the award. Te'o has been not only the on-field leader for the Irish, but also the emotional leader of a defense that ranks right alongside Alabama as one of the best.

Offensively, Everret Goldston leads a Notre Dame attack that has been efficient. For the Irish to win the game, Goldston and the offense will have to play mistake-free football against a team that has won their championships the past few years by causing turnovers in the title game.

While the Tide are favored by 9.5, the total put out by odds makers is one of the lowest in recent BCS title game history at 40.5. The total is a reflection of what gamblers believe will be a low scoring affair.

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