Skip to main content

5 Best Alabama vs. Notre Dame College Football Games of All Time

5 Best Alabama vs. Notre Dame College Football Games of All Time

5 Best Alabama vs. Notre Dame College Football Games of All Time

Alabama and Notre Dame will meet for the eighth time in the Rose Bowl/College Football Playoff Semifinal on New Year's Day. College football analysts expect this to be a lopsided game in Alabama's favor, which is ironic because this series started with one of the greatest games in college football history and remains one-sided in the Irish's favor. Here are the five best games in this series.

5. Alabama 28, Notre Dame 10

Oct. 4, 1986 – Birmingham, Ala.

Second-ranked Alabama finally secured a win over Notre Dame in their fifth try, holding the Irish to 10 points and snagging five turnovers. In the meantime, Crimson Tide quarterback Mike Shula threw three touchdown passes as Alabama never trailed.

4. Notre Dame 7, Alabama 0

Nov. 15, 1980 – Birmingham, Ala.

In a very sloppy game, the only score came after Alabama quarterback Don Jacobs fumbled twice and Notre Dame signal-caller Blair Kiel fumbled once on consecutive series. The shutout was the Crimson Tide's first since 1958 and marked four straight losses to the Irish for Bear Bryant.

3. Notre Dame 21, Alabama 18

Nov. 13, 1976 – South Bend, Ind.

Notre Dame outgained Alabama 366 yards to 166 in the first half and led 21-7. In the second half, Alabama closed the lead with a field goal and a 30-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Rutledge to Ozzie Newsome. Rutledge ran into the end zone for the two-point conversion to close the lead to 21-18, but then threw an interception to safety Jim Browner with 4:17 left to end any comeback hopes.

2. Notre Dame 13, Alabama 11 (Orange Bowl)

Jan. 1, 1975 – Miami

The Orange Bowl signed 9-2 Notre Dame and 11-0 Alabama for a rematch from their epic Sugar Bowl meeting the year prior. If the Tide beat the Irish, they would win at least a share of the national title. However, Notre Dame capitalized on four turnovers and led 13-3 in the fourth quarter. Alabama quarterback Richard Todd hit Russ Schamun with a 48-yard touchdown pass and then completed a two-point conversion to close the lead to 13-11. The Crimson Tide then got the ball back with less than two minutes to play, but Todd's pass was picked off by Reggie Barnett, sealing Notre Dame's win.

1. Notre Dame 24, Alabama 23 (Sugar Bowl)

Dec. 31, 1973 – New Orleans

This series began with one of the greatest college football games ever played. Notre Dame led 21-17 after three back-and-forth quarters. In the fourth, the Crimson Tide took the lead on a picture-perfect trick play where running back Mike Stock threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Richard Todd, but kicker Bill Davis missed the extra point. The Irish pulled ahead with a field goal, but Alabama pinned them deep in their own territory and forced a third-and-10 on the one-yard line. Notre Dame quarterback Tom Clements threw a long pass to tight end Robin Weber who caught the ball along the sidelines. The Irish ran out the clock and won the AP national championship. (Alabama had won the Coaches’' Poll title, which was awarded before the bowl games for the last time that season.)

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports' Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.

(Top photo courtesy of