Notre Dame versus Alabama.
The Irish versus the Crimson Tide.
Lou Holtz's pep talks versus Bear Bryant's hats.
Joe Montana's Shape-ups versus Bart Starr's single-bar face mask.
Bama is getting lots of respect, coming out of the SEC with a 12-1 record and a nice win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game -- which looks even better now, considering the Bulldogs just put up 45 points in the Capital One Bowl.
The Irish on the other hand, have never gotten their just due. Conan O'Brien did a fine job on "The Tonight Show." The Timberwolves were screwed up long before Kevin McHale got to town. And Notre Dame has spent much of the past few weeks defending their schedule -- one that included a win over Oklahoma and a no-contest against Rose Bowl champion Stanford. You beat whoever they put in front of you. Sorta. The fact is, Notre Dame has the No. 1 defense in the country, even if it sometimes looks like the offense can't score.
Notre Dame does head into the game with one decided advantage: trash talk. From T-shirts to billboards, they have renamed Monday night's game a hundred times:
• Catholics versus Cousins
• Golden Domers versus Mobile Homers
• Holy Bible versus Honey Boo Boo
Okay, I made up one of these. It's fun, give it a try!
My prediction? Pain. Expect a very physical game. The winner is a legend while the loser realizes teachers all of a sudden care about late homework once the season is over. Right now, Vegas has the Tide as 10-point favorites. Not much love for a Notre Dame team that went undefeated (sorta) and features Heisman runner-up Manti Te'o.
If that doesn't excite you, here are a few other interesting propositions:
• Over/Under times they show AJ McCarron's girlfriend: 4.5
• Over/Under curses you yell at AJ McCarron after seeing his girlfriend: 7.5
• Over/Under times guys jump into each other to celebrate: 6,041
• Sean Astin finds out moments before kickoff he's not on the game-day roster like in "Rudy": -110
Enjoy the game!