Team buses arrive at Miami International for the Alabama team.
Carlos Pineda | Staff writer
Notre Dame and Alabama have combined to win 25 national championships and on Monday will play in the most anticipated game.
Both teams flew into South Florida Wednesday afternoon for the 2013 BCS National Championship Game at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens.
The first-ranked Fighting Irish arrived at Fort Lauderdale Jet Center and will be making their first appearance in the BCS title game and fourth overall appearance in a BCS bowl game. Notre Dame played its last game on Nov. 24.
"Getting on the plane, we finally realized the fact that we are going to play football game," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said. "Everybody was just anxious to get here."
The Irish (12-0) made history this season by being the first team in the BCS era to play for the national title after beginning the season unranked.
Kelly added: "We want to have fun while we're here too. There's no question we're here to play the game, but I want our guys relaxed. They've done all the work, we've got some practices that we've got to take care of, but I want them relaxed and ready to play."
Monday's game will be the seventh meeting between these traditional powers, with Notre Dame holding a 5-1 edge.
On the other end of the spectrum is No. 2 Alabama. Winners of two BCS titles under head coach Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide (12-1) is looking for an unprecedented third championship in a four-year span as they touched down at Miami International Airport. Alabama beat LSU in last year's championship game.
"We're really pleased and happy to be here," Saban said. "I'm really proud of what our kids have accomplished to create this opportunity for themselves. It's certainly a great opportunity to play against a great Notre Dame team."
South Florida will be host to a matchup that features two teams known for their defensive prowess. The Irish lead the nation in scoring defense (10.33 ppg). they also rank sixth in total defense (286.83 ypg) and fourth in rush defense (92.42 ypg).
Notre Dame is led by All-American senior linebacker Manti Te'o, who leads the Irish with 103 tackles and seven interceptions.
Alabama ranks first in total defense (246.00 ypg) and rush defense (79.77 ypg). They are second in scoring defense (10.69 ppg) and sixth in pass defense (166.23 ypg).
Junior linebacker C.J. Mosley led the Tide with 99 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions.
The highly-anticipated matchup is sure to be a spectacle and that the players on each team are excited about playing in.
"They're going to play national championship game in Miami," Kelly said about the excitement of this game. "It's not like any trip that they've had before. It's something you dream about when you play this game and when you coach this game."