Alabama won the national championship following the 2009 and 2011 seasons, and is hoping to make it three out of four. For center Barrett Jones, one of the Crimson Tide players who've been a part of all three trips to the title game, it doesn't get old.
"It's pretty special," he said after the Tide landed in Miami on Wednesday afternoon. "It's something we try not to take for granted. People ask me all the time, 'Do you get tired of playing in the national championship?' Of course not. Every game is a little different and this going to be a big challenge for us. Notre Dame is a great team and we're excited. I can't wait to get there."
Jones, who returned to practice on Tuesday after dealing with a sprained foot suffered in the SEC championship game, didn't seem to think the Tide's overwhelming experience advantage would be a deciding factor in Monday's game at Sun Life Stadium.
But it doesn't hurt.
"I think that might be a little overplayed," he said. "Once you get on the field, it's going to be about not necessarily who's the best team, it's going to be about who plays the better game that day. Certainly our coaches have been in these situations and have learned how to effectively prepare us for the national championship game. I think if there is an advantage, that might be it."
Alabama coach Nick Saban again went to a well-worn anecdote when asked about winning a third title in four years.
"We're focused on what we've got to do in this particular game," he said. "Michael Jordan always said it doesn't matter how many game-winning shots I've made in the past, all that matters is the next one. And that's really what matters to our guys."