Who Is More Battle Tested: The Irish or the Crimson Tide?

According to Jeff Sagarin’s college football strength of schedule rankings Alabama comes in at 30th overall and Notre Dame at 35th overall. Many people might think that Alabama had a much tougher schedule, but they played weak teams out of conference besides Michigan. In conference they played the weaker SEC teams. Notre Dame had the toughest schedule at the beginning of the year, but with disappointing seasons from, Michigan State, Michigan, and USC it dropped them down to 35th. Let’s break down each win for the Irish and the Crimson Tide.

Alabama:

Record: 12-1 (SEC Champs)

Opponents Record: 81-75            .519 winning percentage

Signature Win’s: LSU, Georgia

Schedule:

Michigan (8-4) W, 41-14
Western Kentucky (7-5) W, 35-0
Arkansas (4-8) W, 52-0
Florida Atlantic (3-9) W, 40-7
Ole Miss (6-6) W, 33-14
Missouri (5-7) W, 42-10
Tennessee (5-7) W, 44-13
Mississippi State (8-4) W, 38-7
LSU (10-2) W, 21-17
Texas A&M (10-2) L, 29-24
Western Carolina (1-10) W, 49-0
Auburn (3-9) W, 49-0
Georgia (11-2) SEC Championship W, 32-28

Alabama does play in the best conference in college football the SEC, but you have to look at the SEC teams they played. Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Auburn all had losing records. Then you add in an FCS football team that went 1-10 in FCS play! Don’t forget the Sun Belt school with a losing record Florida Atlantic. That is 6 losing teams that Alabama played this season, 6 with a winning record and one with a record that was 500. The Crimson Tide played 3 schools that are not in a BCS conference.

Notre Dame:

Record: 12-0

Opponents Record: 76-62            .550 winning percentage

Signature Win’s: Stanford, Oklahoma

Schedule:

Navy (7-4) W, 50-10
Purdue (6-6) W, 20-17
Michigan State (6-6) W, 20-3
Michigan (8-4) W, 13-6
Miami (7-5) W, 41-3
Stanford (11-2) W, 20-13
BYU (7-5) W, 17-14
Oklahoma (10-2) W, 30-13
Pittsburgh (6-6) W, 29-26
Boston College (2-10) W, 21-6
Wake Forest (5-7) W, 38-0
USC (7-5) W, 22-13

At the beginning of the year Notre Dame’s schedule had everyone predicting an 8-4 season, but after many realized that the schedule wasn’t what it was supposed to be some people still said the Irish Didn’t play anyone, well I beg to differ. Notre Dame only played 2 teams with a losing record and everyone they played was from the FBS. They played 7 teams with a winning record and 3 teams with a 500 record. Notre Dame played two independent schools in BYU and Navy, but the rest of the teams they played are from BCS conferences.

There is no doubt in my mind that Alabama has been more impressive against the teams they have beaten so right there you give Alabama an edge. Then again, Notre Dame hasn’t lost a game and they have had to overcome adversity many more times than the Crimson Tide this year. In the aspect of overcoming adversity Notre Dame gets the nod as having to overcome much more to win football games. When comparing these teams I point to Michigan, while they both beat the Wolverines you can see that Alabama just dominated the entire game in all three aspects. The Irish dominated on defense, but their offense was still trying to get into rhythm at the time. Alabama gets the nod for the more impressive win over Michigan. 2-1 Alabama so far, but Notre Dame has the better schedule, just because they play more teams with a winning record, while only playing 2 teams with a losing record and Alabama played 6 teams that had lost 7 games or more. So now the score is tied 2-2, and as far as I can look there is nothing else to evaluated when it comes down to who is more battle tested. Both teams have been tested all season, but the biggest test comes on January 7, 2013.

Topics: Football, Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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