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MORRISSEY: See how well you know Notre Dame, Alabama

Under famous houndstooth hAlabamcoach Bear Bryant was mind for football . . . an ear for progressive rock? | AP

Under the famous houndstooth hat of Alabama coach Bear Bryant was a mind for football . . . and an ear for progressive rock? | AP

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Updated: February 7, 2013 6:46AM

When Notre Dame and Alabama play Monday night in the BCS title game, it will be a showdown of two of the most celebrated programs in college football history.

But how much do you really know about these national powers? Let’s find out, shall we? Answers at bottom right.

1. “The Four Horsemen’’ refers to:

A) Notre Dame’s 1924 backfield of quarterback Harry Stuhldreher, left halfback Jim Crowley, right halfback Don Miller and fullback Elmer Layden.

B) War, Famine, Pestilence and Death.

C) Nike, Nike, Nike and Nike.

D) Four guys from the South Side who never attended Notre Dame, are each 1/10th Irish, drive together to every game and often wonder what Lou Holtz would sound like with a brogue.

2. Alabama coach Nick Saban is to excitement
what . . .

A) Porridge is to French cooking.

B) Beige is to DayGlo.

C) Sean Penn is to comedy.

D) Saban will have to watch the tape before he can comment on that.

3. Alabama’s nickname, the Crimson Tide, refers to:

A) The color detergent turns to when you accidently put a new red T-shirt in with the whites.

B) The name a sportswriter reportedly came up with in 1907 when Alabama tied heavily favored Auburn.

C) The skin tone of angry boosters after Alabama loses a game. This condition usually goes away in three months.

D) The fact that former head coach Bear Bryant was a huge fan of progressive rockers King Crimson in the early ’70s.

4. Name the best Notre Dame coach in school history:

A) Knute Rockne.

B) Ara Parseghian.

C) Frank Leahy.

D) Current coach Brian Kelly. Like, by far. Hello?

5. Alabama’s most famous quarterback was Joe ‘‘Willie’’ Namath. What did ‘‘Willie’’ refer to?

A) Nothing. Howard Cosell, the late TV broadcaster, thought it sounded good.

B) William, his middle name.

C) You don’t want to know.

D) He idolized Willie Mays growing up.

6. Notre Dame’s mascot looks like an Amish guy on a green-beer bender. What’s he supposed to be?

A) A leprechaun with a shillelagh and magical powers.

B) Lou Holtz.

C) A student with anger-management problems.

D) An Amish guy on a green-beer bender.

7. “Play Like A Champion Today’’ refers to:

A) A sign Irish players touch as they head toward the tunnel leading to Notre Dame Stadium.

B) You went to Auburn, which went 0-8 in the Southeastern Conference this year. How would you know what it means?

C) Apropos of nothing, Oregon’s Chip Kelly has tweaked the slogan to read, ‘‘Interview Like A Champion Today.’’

D) What playahs say before they go clubbin’.

8. Bear Bryant wore a houndstooth hat during games because:

A) Who wouldn’t?

B) He relished the chance to run your ass from here to next year if you made fun of it.

C) Former Jets owner Sonny Werblin reportedly gave it to him while trying to get Namath to play in the AFL rather than the NFL.

D) He needed something to cover a football-shaped bald spot.

9. Who was Rudy?

A) Rudy Giuliani.

B) Rudy Tomjanovich.

C) Daniel “Rudy’’ Ruettiger, a former Notre Dame walk-on whose story of overcoming huge obstacles became a successful movie.

D) Rudy the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The drunk cousin.

10. What does it mean that Alabama’s average attendance at the last six spring games was 86,089?

A) That these people are nuts.

B) That there are many things to do in the state of Alabama, but usually it comes down to watching football or hitting the tackling sled in the backyard.

C) That, son, if you fumble the football in a stunning loss to Auburn, you had better get yourself out of town pronto.

D) All of the above.

11. How many Heisman Trophy winners has Notre Dame had?

A) Five.

B) Seven.

C) Nine.

D) Way more than Alabama has had (one, Mark Ingram in 2009).

12. How many national championships does Alabama claim to have won?

A) 14.

B) Nine.

C) 13.

D) Way more than Notre Dame has had (11).

13. Why were the words ‘‘claim to have won’’ used in the previous question?

A) In 1973, Notre Dame beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl to secure the top spot in the AP poll, but the Crimson Tide finished No. 1 in the UPI poll, which didn’t have post-bowl rankings. Alabama ‘‘claimed’’ that as a national title.

B) It’s considered “folksy’’ to tell tall tales in the South.

C) You don’t mess with Notre Dame’s PR machine when it comes to the national-title arms race.

D) It really hacks off Tide fans.

14. Why is Alabama’s mascot an elephant named Big Al?

A) Why wouldn’t it be?

B) In 1930, a sportswriter wrote, “Some excited fan in the stands bellowed, ‘Hold your horses, the elephants are coming,’ and out stamped this Alabama varsity.’ ” It stuck.

C) The “elephant in the room’’ during any University of Alabama Board of Trustees meeting is football. It holds the gavel with its trunk.

D) They were going to name the elephant “Huge NFL Signing Bonus’’ but thought that might be too brazen.

15. Which football program takes itself most seriously?

A) Notre Dame.

B) Alabama.

C) It’s a tie.

D) Come to think of it, Penn State.

16. Will Brian Kelly leave Notre Dame for the NFL on Tuesday?

A) Yes.

B) No.

C) Don’t know.

D) Way to be a buzz kill on the eve of the national championship game.


1. A 2. D 3. B 4. D 5. B 6. A 7. A 8. C 9. C 10. D 11. B 12. A 13. A 14. B 15. All of the above. 16. D

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