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Play like a champion today?

The best rating system ever designed says Bama belongs -- but not the Irish

Originally Published: December 13, 2012
By Peter Keating | ESPN The Magazine

YOU KNOW WHY the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are playing for the national championship: They're undefeated, for one, and sports writers, fans and (especially) sponsors love their story. As Ivan Maisel of ESPN.com put it: "When Notre Dame is atop the polls, the hot dogs are tastier, the popcorn is fresher and even the December sky is a little more blue-gray." Who can possibly argue against a Notre Dame-Alabama matchup?

I can. Because going through a season without a loss doesn't make a team No. 1 in the country. In fact, advanced metrics say Notre Dame, despite its 12-0 record, doesn't even belong in the title game. Let me explain.

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