The matchup between Notre Dame and Alabama for the college football championship pits two football programs that for decades have yielded legendary figures -- and rich material for books. The Four Horsemen, the Bear, the Gipper, Broadway Joe, Rudy -- each nickname conjures up lasting images for even the most casual football fan.
If you need some inspirationbefore Monday night's big game, here are some books to consider:
-- "Rudy: My Story," a memoir by Rudy Ruettiger, whose inspirational story was chronicled in the movie "Rudy." The under-sized Ruettiger dreamed of playing big-time football for the Irish but had to content himself with working for the team -- until he finally got a chance to suit up.
-- "Rockne: The Coach, the Man, the Legend," Jerry Brondfield's look at the Notre Dame coach who built a storied football program in South Bend before dying in a plane crash at age 43. He coached the backfield of the "Four Horsemen," and George Gipp of "Win one for the Gipper" fame.
-- "Namath," Mark Kriegel's bio of the gimpy Alabama quarterback who became known for his amazing talent as a passer -- and for living large. He went on to quarterback for the N.Y. Jets and helped the team win Super Bowl III (over the Baltimore Colts) before his knees gave out.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun