POSTED: 12:15 p.m. HST, Jan 4, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 2:10 p.m. HST, Jan 4, 2013
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. >> ESPN football analysts David Pollack and Desmond Howard weighed in today with thoughts on linebacker Manti Te'o as his No. 1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-0) try to upset the Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1) in the Discover BCS National Championship game Monday at Sun Life Stadium.
"He's going to be pivotal," Pollack said of Te'o, a Punahou product from Laie who was second in the Heisman Trophy voting. "He's a great player (but) he's going to have his hands full."
Pollack said a potential matchup of Te'o and Alabama's All-American guard Chance Warmack could affect the outcome.
"Chance Warmack is the best offensive lineman in college football for my money," said Pollack, who was a three-time All-American defensive lineman at Georgia.
Howard, the 1991 Heisman Trophy winner as a receiver and kick returner at Michigan, said Te'o is "one of the most dominant defensive players in the game, if not the. He's fast, he's quick, he's physical, he's smart. He has pretty good hands, too. … He's the complete package."
Notre Dame's defense, led by Te'o, allowed a nation's best 10.3 points per game and just two rushing touchdowns.
Alabama is 19th nationally with 224.6 rushing yards per game.