What others are saying in the wake of Alabama’s 42-14 demolition of Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game:
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — They called the football game played here Monday night a national championship, a title clash for the ages, epic, monumental, historic.
Then Notre Dame kicked the ball off.
Then Alabama drove down the field, unimpeded, as if out for a nighttime stroll. It all went downhill from there, for Notre Dame and for those interested in the most overhyped college football game in years. Instead, this national championship ended early, almost immediately, in a flurry of Alabama touchdowns that allowed the Crimson Tide to seize their third title in four seasons, 42-14, with all the ease predicted by the oddsmakers, sapping this game of all competitiveness or drama.
This was “Rudy,” the sequel, after he stumbled onto Elm Street.
Alabama jumped to a 14-0 lead after one quarter and opened up a 28-0 advantage by the half, as Notre Dame fans streamed for the exits and the beer lines. Afterward, Alabama fans held newspapers with the headline “BAMA! AGAIN!” and chanted “S-E-C," as defensive lineman Quinton Dial grabbed the school flag from a cheerleader and sprinted across the end zone.
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — In the final moments before kickoff Monday, college football’s major award winners were honored on the field at Sun Life Stadium. Manti Te’o, who’d carried home a boatload of trophies back in December, was absent.
Nothing much changed once the game started.
Alabama’s 42-14 rout in the BCS national championship game came at the expense of Notre Dame’s vaunted defense, and its emotional senior leader. As the Crimson Tide running back tandem of Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon pounded away, ripping through big holes opened by Alabama’s offensive line, Te’o was essentially a nonfactor.
He’d been back in the locker room during that pregame presentation, but after kickoff, the middle linebacker who was a Heisman finalist and won the Nagurski, Butkus, Lott and — well, it was a lot of trophies — missed tackles and just plain missed his moment. And the subpar performance might impact his NFL Draft prospects.
No one could argue with a straight face that the University of Alabama’s nearly perfunctory reign over the rest of the country hasn’t been earned with superior recruiting, defensive schemes, animal sacrifice and whatever else goes into making a college football program that much better than the competition. But it’s sort of a drag, isn’t it?
Weeks of brow-beating and promo-cutting and moaning about the unfairness of math ends up with this — yet another national championship game in which Alabama reduces the manic unpredictability of sports into indisputable fact. It took less than a quarter for the Crimson Tide to prove themselves undoubtedly better against the University of Notre Dame in Monday’s BCS title game, scoring on their first drive by going farther than any team had against the famed Fighting Irish defense this season and scoring again on their next two possessions.
By the end of the first quarter, most of the fun came by rifling through all the Twitter kvetching over how Oregon might’ve played better, how Knicks-Celtics was a better watch and how creepy it was for Brent Musburger to keep openly obsessing over AJ McCarron’s girlfriend on the telecast. The 42-14 final score told the story of yet another game where the Crimson Tide made somebody good look like a seventh-place team from the Sun Belt Conference.
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — AJ McCarron was trying to get back to the locker room, trying to escape a confetti-strewn field after winning a second straight BCS national championship for Alabama.
Then the celebrated quarterback saw one of the Tide’s backup tight ends walking briskly toward him and froze in his tracks after Monday night’s 42-14 win over Notre Dame at Sun Life Stadium.
Corey McCarron, a sophomore transfer from the University of South Alabama, slapped a bear hug on his older brother and shared their first championship moment together.
“In my eyes, he’s the best quarterback in the country,” the younger McCarron said. “I might be biased, but I think he shows it in the big games. That’s when he plays the best.”
In shredding the top-ranked Irish on college football’s biggest stage, the elder McCarron finished 20-of-28 passing for 264 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.
“He showed me what we already knew, what y’all should have known,” said tight end Michael Williams, who caught a 3-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. “He’s a great quarterback, a great leader and very efficient. He does his job to the best.”
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — This wasn’t the way it was supposed to end for Manti Te’o.
Alabama players showcasing newspapers touting their third national championship in four years. Members of the Bama program, not Notre Dame’s, ascending the podium assembled on the pristine Sun Life Stadium grass. Crimson Tide players accentuating their uniforms with national championship hats and T-shirts.
Manti Te’o trotted through purple and white streamers as Alabama players ran through the crowd on the field waving flags. Cameras followed the ND senior linebacker’s steps off the field after the Crimson Tide dismantled the Irish, 42-14 in Monday’s BCS National Championship Game.
Afterward, Te’o walked into an interview room, tossed some tape into a trash can and then waited for each of his teammates to pass, offering a show of encouragement as they walked by.
“Obviously disappointing,” is how Te’o described his emotions. “Not necessarily all that we lost, but we just didn’t represent our school, our team, our families the way that we could have. So in that aspect it’s just disappointing. But at the same time, I’m proud to be part of this team.”
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — College football’s overlords need to hold an intervention, pronto, because this is becoming a serious problem. It’s clear now that no one can possibly hang with Alabama in a BCS championship game. And that’s an issue for everybody else, seeing as neither Nick Saban nor most of his marquee players seem interested in leaving Tuscaloosa anytime soon.
As the confetti poured down behind them at Sun Life Stadium, and as they tried to get changed in the locker room, Alabama’s players found themselves answering the same question over and over from reporters after their 42-14 demolition of Notre Dame on Monday: Having won three of the past four BCS championships, are the Crimson Tide a dynasty?
“Man, everyone keeps asking that,” said departing offensive lineman Chance Warmack. “We’re just a team hungry for dominance. You can put that in the paper.”
The BCS might want to put an end to these futile championship charades. How many more teams’ fans will fork over thousands of dollars for tickets and flights only to subject themselves to three-hour horror shows? How many more hours of programming must ESPN devote to building up an Alabama game that’s less competitive than A-Day? How many more idiots like this one will delude themselves into thinking one of Saban’s teams can be rendered mortal in a championship setting?
Maybe the real reason Chip Kelly turned down the NFL overtures last weekend was because he received a bat signal from the rest of college football: You’re our only hope.
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Nick Saban was telling stories the other day in a way he rarely does publicly, the kind of stories that might offer a glimpse into just how he’s come to dominate college football in a way that no other person is dominating a sport in America.
Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide won a third BCS title in four years here Monday, absolutely demolishing Notre Dame 42-14 in a game that — if you can believe it — wasn’t as close as that lopsided score.
It was the latest example of Saban’s ability to meld group after group into seemingly indomitable units, another 60-minute showcase of blunt-force trauma.
This time it was AJ McCarron (20-of-28 for 264 yards and four TDs) throwing it around, but it could’ve been Greg McElroy. This time it was Eddie Lacy (140 yards, one TD) spinning and slamming over the Irish, but it could’ve been Trent Richardson or Mark Ingram before him. This time it was Amari Cooper (six catches for 105 yards and two TDs) getting loose in the secondary, but it could’ve been Julio Jones. This time it was HaHa Clinton-Dix and C.J. Mosley anchoring the defense but it could’ve been Dont’a Hightower or Marcell Dareus.
The faces change, the seasons spin, but Nick Saban keeps lifting crystal footballs. This, counting a 2003 title at LSU, was his fourth.
MIAMI — The rolling was over now. Another title had been won, and another opponent had been trampled, and another college season had come to the same familiar finish of watching Alabama football players celebrate beneath the fireworks.
This is who they are, and this is what they do. They are America’s best program, and they always seem to be at their finest on America’s biggest stage. This was the third title in four years for the Crimson Tide, and who wants to bet against it next year?
Consider Monday night, when Alabama won the easiest national title game you could ever imagine, 42-14. As simple as flexing a muscle, the Tide made Notre Dame, previously the No. 1 team in the country, look like an escapee from the Peach Bowl.
And so Tide players celebrated. By now, they ought to know the steps. Call it the Dynasty Hustle.
Not far away from the party, the best performer of them all looked on. This was his team, and this was his title, but at the moment, Nick Saban seemed happy to be a spectator. There was a predator’s smile on Saban’s face. You imagine that Attila once wore the same look as he watched the Huns in their victory dance.
MIAMI — Put it this way: America could have used Lindsey Nelson on the call last night, the old voice of the Mets who also was once the narrator of those Sunday-morning condensed showings of Notre Dame football games, so we could mystically have “moved ahead to further action later in the game.”
Yes. It was that bad.
Put it another way: When Notre Dame finally scored a touchdown late in the third quarter of the BCS Championship game Monday, mercifully allowing the Fighting Irish’s segment of the 80,120 people inside Sun Life Stadium to finally have something to cheer about, it ended this remarkable two-year streak for the Alabama Crimson Tide: 108 minutes and seven seconds in BCS Championship games, zero points allowed. Alabama 56, LSU/Notre Dame 0.
Yes. It was that bad, too. So maybe the lesson in the aftermath of Alabama’s 42-14 win is to be careful what you wish for, to be careful about being seduced by what looks on paper (and according to history books) to be a game for the ages and instead turned into a game for the sages, as in those with the wisdom to have seen Alabama - 9 1/2 and thought: Thank you for the tardy Christmas present.
As the night went on, as the game went south, as Alabama turned the biggest show in college football into a self-advertisement, the only thing left to do, whether you’re a fan or not, was to wonder about Nick Saban.
Doesn’t he go on the Mount Rushmore of college football coaching now?
Is it Knute Rockne, Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden … and Saban
Alabama won another national title Monday night, won this one going away, won it in every way possible, won it in a manner that made you notice Saban now has three championships in the past four years.
He’s also won four titles in the past eight years — and he spent two of those years in a coaching timeout with the Dolphins. So it’s really four titles in six years he’s been in college. No one has done that.
It was supposed to be a colossal clash between two of college football’s giants, a slugfest between the nation’s two stingiest defenses.
Monday night’s BCS National Championship Game — played in front of 80,120, the largest crowd in Sun Life Stadium history — turned out to be just another coronation for Nick Saban, Alabama and the Southeastern Conference.
Behind Eddie Lacy’s legs, the Crimson Tide (13-1) pounded and pummeled Notre Dame from start to finish, smacking the previously unbeaten Irish from its No. 1 perch 42-14 to become the first program since Nebraska (1994 to 1997) to win three national titles in four years.
Alabama, which wouldn’t talk about repeating all season as per Saban’s orders, also became the first school to win back-to-back titles since the Huskers did it 18 years ago.
“They repeated so they can talk about it all they want now,” said Saban, now among a handful of coaching greats to win four national championships in his career (Alabama’s Bear Bryant won six; Minnesota’s Bernie Bierman five; and Notre Dame’s Frank Leahy and Tennessee’s Robert Neyland each won four).
“Whether I look it or not, I’m happy as hell.”