Chris Dufresne / On College Football

Luck has been, and could be, a factor for Notre Dame and Alabama

Both the Fighting Irish and the Crimson Tide have had their share of good fortune to help them reach this year's Bowl Championship Series title game, which could go either way.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — It is easy to embrace the thought Alabama will defeat Notre Dame in Monday night's Bowl Championship Series title game at Sun Life Stadium.

Alabama (12-1) is on dynasty's cusp, seeking its third title in four years under Coach Nick Saban. People are already trying to compare Saban with Bear Bryant.

"I wouldn't agree with that at all," Saban said in what was absolutely the correct answer.

Notre Dame (12-0) hasn't won a championship since 1988, and many would say the Irish have been looking over a four-leaf clover since their opener in Ireland.

"I think you get what you deserve," third-year Coach Brian Kelly countered on Sunday. "You have to have more than luck. You have to have a will, a determination. You have confidence."

That sounds right, though determination had nothing to do with Pittsburgh's kicker missing that potential game-winner in overtime Nov. 3 in South Bend, Ind.

The oddsmakers have Alabama at nearly a double-digit favorite in advance of one of the most anticipated college football games in years.

So why does all this sound like a setup?

Because it's basically the carbon-copy scenario we had 10 years ago when underdog Ohio State took on dynastic Miami for the BCS title in Phoenix.

Miami was defending champions and working on a 34-game winning streak when it took the field that night.

That game was at Sun Devil, not Life, Stadium.

Anyone remember what happened?

Ohio State, of course, pulled off the double-overtime upset and finished 14-0.

Notre Dame is almost a mirror of that Ohio State team while Alabama is comparable, though not as powerful, as Miami.

People and their programs should really stop apologizing for luck.

Ohio State's team in 2002 was lucky. So what? It won seven games by 11 points or fewer including the title game decided by a controversial pass-interference call.

Ohio State beat Cincinnati by four in a game that came down to the final play. Ohio State survived Purdue, 10-6, thanks to a fourth-down-conversion pass for touchdown. The Buckeyes won other games by the score of 19-14, 13-7 and 14-9.

Notre Dame's journey has been just as harrowing — and (so far) as successful. The Irish narrowly defeated by three a Purdue team that Oklahoma State scorched by 44 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, survived overtime against Stanford and triple overtime against Pitt.

Was it not "lucky" officials didn't catch Notre Dame with two players wearing uniform No. 2 on the overtime kick that could have knocked the Irish out of the title game?

What about getting to play USC without injured quarterback Matt Barkley?