FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- There were some dark days at Notre Dame and Alabama, dark years really, during which two college football's proudest programs flailed and foundered.
As the 21st century dawned, the Fighting Irish and the Crimson Tide were old news, stodgy remnants of a glorious past, not moving fast enough to keep up with the times, and searching for someone to lead them back to the top.
Then along came Nick Saban and Brian Kelly to knock off the rust, fine tune the engines and turn the Crimson Tide and Fighting Irish into the sharpest machines in college football again.
No. 1 Notre Dame and No. Alabama meet Monday night in Miami in a BCS championship game between two titans not all that far removed from tough times.