Fortune Favors the Bold

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly met with the media Sunday morning. In his final appearance prior to Monday's BCS Championship game, Kelly reiterated what he thought might decide the contest -- and the answer might surprise you.

Stop the run. Find a way to control the line of scrimmage. Run the football successfully when the opponent knows its coming.

Both Brian Kelly and Alabama head coach Nick Saban have preached the platitudes of old school football as deciding components of Monday's night's battle between the teams.

Kelly, leader of the accepted underdog, has a unique addition to those essential truths.

"The team that makes the most mistakes (might win the game)," said Kelly. "You have to be aggressive in this game. If you're going to sit back and hope that its going to come your way, you're going to miss.

"This is one of those games where you have to be aggressive and you're going to make mistakes. I'm not talking about catastrophic mistakes (such as) throwing picks for touchdowns. You may make a mistake, but as long as you know that you're playing hard and aggressive, that's the kind of mentality (he wants)."

Such an approach is reminiscent of Notre Dame's early season road upset of Michigan State, with a first half comprised of 19 pass attempts resulting in six completions in excess of 10 yards, including a 36-yard scoring strike.

The Spartans rush defense (9th nationally at season's end) and a hostile, prime time environment contributed to the stated need for "chunk plays." In short, the Irish offense had to let loose early to consider running the football late against a stout front.

Kelly, however, reiterated the tenets of winning football at a championship level remain the starting point. "I believe the quarterbacks will be important in the game. There's no question you have to put some points on the board. (But) I really think its about who controls the line of scrimmage again," said Kelly.

"People were talking about 'How do you bring down (Eddie) Lacy? How do you bring down (T.J. Yeldon)? You don't. If there are big holes, we're not tackling them. We're not going to get them on the ground. We have to make sure we don't have big creases so we have to get them moving east and west so we can get them on the ground.

"I still think this game is going to be decided by what happens up front."

Luck is the residue of design

Six games decided by nine points or less. Four overtimes played. A field goal that sailed mercifully wide. A replay booth that came up Irish at all the right times.

Casual observers of the Irish program and the prevailing theme from Alabama media during the week has pointed to the familiar "Luck of the Irish" refrain.

Not surprisingly, the team's head coach has a disparate view of Notre Dame's run to 12-0.

"Honestly I don't. I think you get what you deserve," said Kelly when asked if the Irish were a team of destiny. "We had some close games this year, but to win those close games vs. losing those close games, you have to have more than luck. You have to have a will, a determination. You have to have a confidence.

"And I believe that all of those things have to be built. All of those words that I just used have to take place within the workings of your program. If its destiny than that would be fine with me. I have not built and programs on (the theory) that we're going to get good luck and be a team of destiny."

A win Monday night would make Kelly's Irish the 10th undefeated champion of the BCS era and first from outside one of the six automatic qualifying conferences. The Irish would be the first non-SEC school to claim a crown since undefeated Texas following the 2005 season.

The SEC is 8-1 in BCS Championship games with Alabama 2-0 and head coach Nick Saban undefeated in three appearances. Saban also claimed the crown as head man at LSU following the 2004 campaign.

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