FORT WAYNE — Former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz compared his BCS championship tickets to having tickets for the Super Bowl.
And that is all because of the matchup between No. 1 Notre Dame (12-0) and No. 2 Alabama (12-1) on Jan. 7 in Miami.
“I don’t think that you could ever pick a better matchup between two great programs than Alabama and Notre Dame,” Holtz said during a teleconference Wednesday. “There is no school that brings people that don’t know a thing about football and don’t have an affiliation whatsoever to the TV set than Notre Dame when they are on top.”
Holtz, an analyst for ESPN and the last coach to win a national title at Notre Dame in 1988, also said Notre Dame’s allure could be a disadvantage for the Irish.
“I think if I was coaching Alabama I would be a little bit upset,” Holtz said. “Here we are defending national champs, we’ve won two of the last three national championships, and you never hear about them. The only thing you hear about is Notre Dame. There is only one team playing in this game.
“I turn on the TV and there is nothing but specials on Notre Dame. You never see anything about Alabama. I just think Alabama is going to sit there and they’re going to say we get no respect at all.”
Holtz said he will be paying close attention to how the Crimson Tide’s offensive line handles the Irish’s defensive front as Alabama tries to establish its rushing game.
“What Notre Dame has to do is disrupt them,” Holtz said. “Alabama is going to make some yards running. But what you can’t let them do is go four or five or six yards like what happened to Georgia (in the SEC championship game).
“I don’t care if they go four yards, five yards, minus two, zero, and then you disrupt the rhythm. You can’t let them get in a rhythm,” Holtz said.
As for Notre Dame attacking Alabama’s defense, Holtz said he thinks quarterback Everett Golson can cause a lot of problems with his ability to scramble and improvise.
Holtz also said the Irish could create matchup problems by using running back Theo Riddick as a receiving option and creating mismatches with tight end and Bishop Dwenger graduate Tyler Eifert.
“A lot of people don’t think Notre Dame has a chance. I think they match up very well in this football game,” Holtz said.
“I think if Brian Kelly is smart, he will be able to do some things that will surprise Alabama a little bit.
“I think it is a great matchup, and it’s going to be a lot closer than people think.”