FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. >> The Notre Dame and Alabama football teams arrived in South Florida today to begin final preparations for the Discover BCS National Championship game Monday at Sun Life Stadium.
A Fighting Irish player from Laie and Punahou School addressed about 100 media members upon arrival at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport — but it wasn’t Manti Te’o. It was his best friend, senior receiver Robby Toma.
“A couple of us were joking the other day, and we said it’s Rudy vs. Forrest Gump,” Toma said. “Very storied programs, a bunch of national championships and we’re excited to compete with the best because that’s how you become the best.”
Notre Dame is 12-0 and ranked No. 1, but is a 10-point underdog against Alabama, which is 12-1.
“I think we’ve played a lot of games as underdogs this year. A lot of people doubted us,” Toma said. “We’re not going to guarantee a win. We’re just gonna go out and play.
“It’s been a long wait. We’re all excited. We’ve worked hard in the six weeks we’ve had,” added Toma, who was the only Notre Dame player made available to reporters Wednesday. “We’re definitely confident. We don’t get too high, we don’t get too low. It showed during the season. We compete for four quarters and that’s all you can ask.”
Meanwhile, Alabama — which has won two of the past three BCS championship games — landed in Miami.
“It’s great to be back in South Florida,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “It’s the first time we’ve been to the Orange Bowl.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.