One-half of the BCS Championship game is set. No. 1 Notre Dame punched its ticket for Miami with a 22-13 win over Southern Cal Saturday night in Los Angeles.
The other half of the big game will be settled between No. 3 Georgia and No. 2 Alabama in the SEC Championship this Saturday in the Georgia Dome (4 p.m., CBS). The Bulldogs (11-1) beat Georgia Tech 42-10 in Athens on Saturday afternoon and the Crimson Tide (11-1) shut out Auburn 49-10 in Tuscaloosa Saturday evening. The day’s results left little mystery with regard to the sometimes complicated “BCS formula.”
“You don’t need a computer for this one,” ABC sportscaster Brent Musberger said after the Fighting Irish clinched their spot. “Notre Dame will play Alabama or Georgia for the national championship.”
The Irish (12-0) won like they have much of the season, with a stingy defense making stops in the red zone — they made a goal-line stand in the final minutes — and the offense putting together a steady and balanced attack. Quarterback Everett Golson passed for 217 yards, Theo Riddick rushed for 146 and Heisman Trophy candidate Manti Te’o had a key second-half interception.
Notre Dame does not have to play in a conference championship game. The Irish will now play for a national championship for the first time in 24 years. The BCS Championship game is Jan. 7 in Miami.