Just days remain until Notre Dame and Alabama battle for the BCS national championship. Maybe no other BCS title game in history has been quite this compelling. Two of the most historic, important, and greatest football programs meet to decide who's #1. The Irish and Crimson Tide haven't met all that often in their histories, just six times with the Fighting Irish holding a 5-1 series advantage, but each game has been big. Here's the highlights of this rare, but entertaining series.
1973 - Sugar Bowl
The two teams met for the first time on New Year's Eve with a national championship on the line. Ara Parseghian and Bear Bryant led their respective schools and the game could not have been more entertaining. Bob Thomas gave the Irish the one point lead with 4:12 to play on a 19-yard field goal, but ND, trying to hold onto the win, was backed up on their own goal line late facing a 3rd-and-6. That's when Tom Clements found little used tight end Robin Weber for a big first down to seal the 24-23 victory and the Irish's 9th national title. Some ND fans still call this their favorite game of all-time.
1975 - Orange Bowl
For the second consecutive season, Notre Dame and Alabama met in a big bowl game, this time in Miami for the Orange Bowl. Parseghian has already announced his retirement before the game meaning this would be the last game he would ever coach. Playing for Ara, the Irish took a 13-3 lead into halftime, and then held off the Crimson Tide sealing the win with a late interception by Reggie Barnett to win 13-11 giving Parseghian his final win and keeping Alabama from winning the national championship.
1976 - Close one in South Bend
The this meeting took place the very next season, but, for the first time, during the regular season. Vegas Ferguson rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown to lead the Irish to their third straight win over the Tide 21-18.
1980 - One score win
The first meeting in Alabama came in Dan Devine's final season in South Bend. One week after the Irish dropped from #1 after a 3-3 tie to Georgia Tech, they headed down to Birmingham to face the Tide. Phil Carter's second quarter touchdown gave ND the 7-0 lead, and then the Irish defense took over in the second half holding Alabama down to maintain the lead and win it with the lone score.
1986 - Tide take off
Alabama's only win in the series came in Lou Holtz' first season as the Irish traveled down to Birmingham once again. The Crimson Tide rolled behind three touchdown passes from Mike Shula to win 28-10.
1987 - Irish get revenge
In the last meeting between the two, Alabama came back up to South Bend ranked 10th facing the 7th ranked Irish. Notre Dame racked up 348 yards rushing and got a 74-yard touchdown run from Mark Green and a 75-yard scoring run from Ricky Watters in the fourth quarter to dominate the Tide and win 37-6.