College football’s BCS (a.k.a. fictional) national championship game is tonight. Undoubtedly, many of you will be watching – pundits are expecting the largest audience for a college football game in years. And that has everything to do with the two teams involved.
Notre Dame and Alabama are like the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) of college football. Some people love them. Some people hate them. But everyone has an opinion on them. There is no middle ground.
Like a Google earnings call or an Apple product launch, we’ll tune into watch Alabama-Notre Dame because – one way or another – we care deeply about what happens. Whether it’s because you despise the Irish and are rooting for them to fail or because you’re a lifelong ‘Bama fan who screams “Roll Tide!” when you leave for work every morning, either way you have a rooting interest tonight.
It’s the same reason casual observers watch when the New York Yankees are in the World Series, the LeBron James-led Miami Heat are in the NBA Finals, or the Dallas Cowboys are in the Super Bowl. Only, in this case, it’s TWO of those polarizing types of teams going against one another. That’s double the reason to watch.
Notre Dame and Alabama ARE college football. They have won more national championships than anyone else, have featured more legendary coaches (Bear Bryant, Knute Rockne, Lou Holtz, Nick Saban) than anyone else, and boast iconic traditions such as Alabama’s numbered helmets and Notre Dame’s “Touchdown Jesus” statue.
Like all perennial winners, both programs have accrued their share of detractors over the years. People scoff at Notre Dame’s holier-than-thou moral authority the same way some people took pleasure in Apple’s iPhone 5 Map App gaffe.
To many, tonight’s game may feel like choosing sides in a fight between the two biggest bullies on the block.
You don’t want either guy to win…but, for some reason, you’ll watch the fight until the bitter end.