— FIRST NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
ALABAMA: 'Bama headed West in 1925 to capture the program's first national championship with a 20-19 win over Washington in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. — the same place Saban won his first with the Tide. The 1925 squad went 10-0 and outscored opponents 297-26, and seven organizations declared Alabama the nation's best team.
NOTRE DAME: In 1924, it was Notre Dame that capped an undefeated season in the Rose Bowl by beating Pop Warner's Stanford team for the national championship. The first of three for Knute Rockne, and 11 that Notre Dame claims. The Fighting Irish haven't played in the Rose Bowl since.
— BEST WALK-ON
ALABAMA: Carson Tinker received a scholarship before this season but was already one of college football's most well-known walk-ons and long snappers, though for a tragic reason. His girlfriend, Ashley Harrison, was killed by a tornado when she and Tinker were thrown about 50 yards from the closet where they had huddled. Tinker has persevered and become a fan favorite with nearly 27,000 followers on Twitter.
NOTRE DAME: Rudy Ruettiger, the ultimate underdog story. He overcame a learning disability to get accepted to Notre Dame, then at 5-foot-6 and 165 pounds he made the Fighting Irish scout team. He got on the field for three plays, and had a sack on the final play of his final game. Hollywood got hold of the story, added a little melodrama, and turned it into a sports movie classic.
— BEST QUARTERBACK
ALABAMA: Joe Namath came to Tuscaloosa from Beaver Falls, Pa., and was a 1964 All-American for the Tide team that was named national champion by some organizations. Then, of course, he became an unforgettable pro football star who guaranteed his New York Jets would upset Baltimore in the 1969 Super Bowl — before making good on it. Bart Starr, another Hall of Famer, and Kenny Stabler also went on to terrific pro careers.
NOTRE DAME: Joe Montana, another western Pennsylvania kid who grew up to become an all-time great quarterback, came to Notre Dame in 1974. In his sophomore season, he gained a reputation as the comeback kid, coming off the bench to lead the Fighting Irish from behind to beat North Carolina and Air Force. He capped his career with another remarkable comeback victory against Houston in the 1979 Cotton Bowl, then went on to win four Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers.