Menu

College Sports

For the title, a matchup of classic college football programs: Notre Dame vs Alabama

  • 836ee29a42917e00250f6a70670001dc.jpg

    FILE - In this Jan. 1, 1971, file photo, Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian is carried off the field by his victorious players after the Irish victory over Texas 24-11 in the Cotton Bowl NCAA college football game in Dallas. At a time when college football was generally considered the domain of eastern blue bloods, Notre Dame and Alabama were upstart teams that gave blue collar fans a chance to tweak the elite. About 90 years later, the Fighting Irish and Crimson Tide are the elite - two of college football's signature programs, set to play a national championship next Monday in Miami that could break records for television viewership. (AP Photo/File)The Associated Press

  • ae7d880742917e00250f6a7067001294.jpg

    FILE- In tis Jan. 2, 1967 file photo, Alabama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant gets a ride on the shoulders of his team after Alabama beat Nebraska 34-7 in the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game in New Orleans. At a time when college football was generally considered the domain of eastern blue bloods, Notre Dame and Alabama were upstart teams that gave blue collar fans a chance to tweak the elite. About 90 years later, the Fighting Irish and Crimson Tide are the elite - two of college football's signature programs, set to play a national championship next Monday in Miami that could break records for television viewership. (AP Photo/File)The Associated Press

  • 9604dbc942917e00250f6a7067008215.jpg

    In this image released by the Bryant Museum, Alabama football coachWallace Wade at the stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. At a time when college football was generally considered the domain of eastern blue bloods, Notre Dame and Alabama were upstart teams that gave blue collar fans a chance to tweak the elite. About 90 years later, the Fighting Irish and Crimson Tide are the elite - two of college football's signature programs, set to play a national championship next Monday in Miami that could break records for television viewership. (AP Photo/Bryant Museum via The Tuscaloosa News)The Associated Press

  • 76bd326a42917e00250f6a706700f3fd.jpg

    FILE - This is a 1925 photo of Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne at an unknown location.At a time when college football was generally considered the domain of eastern blue bloods, Notre Dame and Alabama were upstart teams that gave blue collar fans a chance to tweak the elite. About 90 years later, the Fighting Irish and Crimson Tide are the elite - two of college football's signature programs, set to play a national championship next Monday in Miami that could break records for television viewership. (AP Photo/File)The Associated Press

  • 72dc1b8142917e00250f6a70670017aa.jpg

    FILE - In this Nov. 21, 2011, file photo, the hallway between the locker room and the field at Notre Dame stadium shows the sign "Play like a Champion Today" in South Bend, Ind. At a time when college football was generally considered the domain of eastern blue bloods, Notre Dame and Alabama were upstart teams that gave blue collar fans a chance to tweak the elite. About 90 years later, the Fighting Irish and Crimson Tide are the elite - two of college football's signature programs, set to play a national championship next Monday in Miami that could break records for television viewership. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond, File)The Associated Press

For even casual college football fans, No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 1 Notre Dame stands out as a classic matchup for the national title.

While the schools may seem like opposites — one in the South and the other in the North, one public and one private — football historians say their stories have some similarities.

Both Notre Dame and Alabama broke into the ranks of football's elite in the 1920s, beating Ivy League teams to gain attention. Both faced adversity — Alabama from fans and media outside the South, Notre Dame from colleges that wouldn't schedule a Catholic school.

But, says historian and author Dan Jenkins, both schools have had "a bunch of gods coaching them" and their track record of victories speaks for itself.