The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

BCS Championship

January 5, 2013

Notre Dame, Alabama not exactly Miami favorites

— FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — For a fan in the greater Miami area, this national championship game might be a nightmare come true.

On one side, there's Notre Dame — maybe the Miami Hurricanes' most hated rival.

On the other side, there's Alabama — coached by former Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban, whose departure is still the source of great scorn in South Florida.

So what's a Miamian to do?

Apparently, in many cases, root for no one is the answer.

"This stinks for me right now," said Heat forward Udonis Haslem, a Miami native, Dolphins fan and Hurricanes fan, even though he's a former Florida Gator. "This really stinks. I always go back to the 'Catholics vs. Convicts' days and then obviously Nick Saban kind of threw the Dolphins to the wolves. I'm not very happy about this national championship game.

"I can't even pick one," Haslem added. "I have a deep distaste for both teams. I can't even pick one. I usually can slide with somebody. Not this one."

The Miami-Notre Dame history is storied, and the teams met in a regular-season game in October, the first such meeting in nearly a quarter-century (they played in the 2010 Sun Bowl, as well). Notre Dame won in a blowout, one of the 12 victories that got the Fighting Irish to the national title game that will be played Monday night on the Hurricanes' home field.

Simply put, the Irish and Hurricanes don't like each other.

There were accusations suggesting Miami ran up the score on the way to a 58-7 win in Gerry Faust's final game on the Notre Dame sideline, to some Irish fans getting former Miami coach Jimmy Johnson's telephone number in the week before a game, and the infamous brouhaha where police had to break up a pushing and shoving match as the teams were exiting the field after pregame warmups in 1988.

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