Before the 2012 Championship Game held on January 7, 2013, the Notre Dame and Alabama football teams have met six times: 1973 Sugar Bowl, 1974 Orange Bowl, 1976 at Notre Dame, 1980 and 1986 at Birmingham, and 1987 at Notre Dame. Of the six meetings, Notre Dame dominates the series 5-1, dropping only the 1986 game.
For the 1976 and 1987 home games, the Notre Dame students kept up the long tradition of banners showing their support for the Irish.
In first meeting of these two football titans, Notre Dame, ranked #3, faced a #1 Alabama team in the 1973 Sugar Bowl with the title on the line, a scenario echoed in the 2013 Championship Game. In 1973, the two teams were well matched and the game was hard fought, coming down to the final minutes. In the middle of the fourth quarter, Alabama scored a touchdown to take the lead, but missed the point-after attempt, which would come back to haunt them. Notre Dame responded with a field goal to go ahead by one point. With a few minutes left on the clock, an Alabama punt pinned the Irish back to the one-yard line, a defensive dream position to potentially set up a final opportunity for the Tide to retake the lead. On third and eight and backed up against the end zone, Notre Dame quarterback Tom Clements found backup tight end Robin Weber wide open. Weber caught his only pass of the season from Clements for a gain of 35 yards. With a fresh set of downs, the Irish was able to run out the clock out, securing the 24-23 win and the National Championship Title.
Notre Dame Football Media Guide 2012, Notre Dame Athletic Department
The Fighting Irish Football Encyclopedia, Michael R. Steele
“Irish Edge Tide for National Championship,” Notre Dame Athletic Department
“Epic Battle of Opposites: Irish vs. Tide in 1973,” Bill Pennington, NY Times, 12/08/2012
GDOM 1987 (uncataloged)