Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: BCS National Championship in Miami: No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Alabama, today at 5:30 p.m., ESPN:
The SEC has won the last six straight national titles – three of them belonging to ‘Bama – so maybe it not shocking seeing the Crimson Tide anywhere from a six-to-10-plus point favorite in this final game of the college football season. But then, Notre Dame is as close to America’s team in this sport, and many are pulling for the Irish to win its first national title since 1988. Where do your loyalties lie? “I think every other conference and every other fan base outside of those 14 (SEC) teams are passionately rooting against Alabama,” said ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who’ll call the game with Brent Musburger. “And what’s interesting in this case – Notre Dame is such a polarizing team, where everybody, no matter where you grew up, you either love or can’t stand Notre Dame. So a lot of people out there are going to have to make a tough decision on who to pull for.” Then you’ve got those who claim they dislike both, so they aren’t going to watch. “I think anybody that takes the time to make a comment like that, clearly they’ll be watching,” said Herbstreit. “They’ll, in fact, watch the four hours of pregame that we have before the game and be blogging and tweeting about how wrong everybody is on those shows.” The 2006 USC-Texas title game at the Rose Bowl set the TV record for one of these events with a 21.7 rating – but it was also on ABC, not ESPN. Will this one exceed it? Probably best to tune in and find out.
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