Let the good times roll back to back!
This wasn’t a bowl game. It was a bowl demolition, a butt-spanking beatdown that ended in cupcake fashion in Miami Gardens, Florida, where Miss Alabama Katherine Webb, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron’s girlfriend, sat in the stands cheering on her baby. When it was all over, you knew it would be emotional, as it was the final game for Notre Dame seniors, such as running back Theo Riddick and center Mike Golic Jr., the two men who fought back tears.
The embarrassing 42-14 loss prompted the visual images of pain in the Notre Dame locker room. Sitting in front of his locker, depressed and disheartened, was a woebegone Riddick. The tears rolled down his cheeks, while he dropped his head, and then Louis Nix III was stunned at how his team performed on the national stage. And on a night when Alabama controlled the ball, running over Notre Dame’s absent-minded defense, Eddie Lacey was efficient and ran at full speed, T.J. Yeldon had a plethora of runs and couldn’t be stopped and then McCarron orchestrated an aerial assault.
Boom. The national title was theirs, and theirs to keep.
So let’s realize that the Irish played a school from the Southeastern Conference, and not only the best team from that specific conference but also clearly the top team in the nation. After blowing out Notre Dame in the worst national title game, Alabama, Nick Saban’s kids, reign dominant for the second straight year. It’s only appropriate, now that he’s led Alabama to back-to-back glory, that Saban is an extraordinaire after having accomplished so much during his tenure in Alabama, recruiting the best players in the nation, with a secret formula for winning football games.
The fact Saban, the 61-year-old coach of Alabama Crimson Tide, is knocking on Bear Bryant’s door to eventually become the all-time coach in the history of Alabama athletics — an elite coach of college football and the moral compass of the school — is almost unheard of in this era of an unsound BCS system. Finally, he wore a smile, a big smile, and hoisted the crystal ball above his head. Never have we seen a coach so celebrated and loathed simultaneously, and one who amazingly moves into elite status among college football coaches. Never have we seen a coach incredibly build a dynasty this extraordinary.
Any player who commits to play for America’s top program could thrive under Saban’s tutelage at ‘Bama, as so many players in the past once did, gaining success on America’s biggest stage and pulling it out when it matters the most. Once again, as it happens annually, he stood with his players on a stage in the middle of the field and tried, as always, to avoid the party. Alabama had won another BCS title, and with Saban as its head coach, one can only expect more to come.
He celebrated with them, told them he was proud, and lastly was presented the trophy. His players screamed, smiled hugely, hugged tightly, gestured to the crowd and reveled in a victory that wrote a beautiful story in the history of Alabama football. The ‘Bama fans came to life and held a massive celebration. The Notre Dame crowd, stunned and waspish, dropped their heads and burst into tears. Saban, the undisputed king of college football, has won three national titles in four seasons. After another victory in Monday night’s BCS title game, he told reporters he’s staying at the school, refusing to graduate from college and fill a coaching vacancy in the National Football League, where he already bailed once when he coached the Miami Dolphins and left behind unfinished business.
The most successful and fascinating season in Saban’s tenure is priceless, and where he’s cemented a dynasty — for a program destined for a shot at another title with the best player’s in the country, no criticism but praise, national attention, influence over just about anybody else in the town and at the university — there are far more telling reasons he should stay loyal to the college game. Thus, it’s no surprise Alabama pummeled Notre Dame, who felt it was disrespected and blown off by skeptics across the nation, as the Crimson Tide entering this game were a 9 1/2-point favorite in Vegas. If Alabama keeps winning — imagine that — it will definitely captivate our attention and those who don’t believe can declare it as a dynasty if they are unwilling to consider it as one now. Deep down inside, especially those who follow college football, knows what viewers are witnessing with their own eyes.
It’s a dynasty. It’s just that simple.
What Saban’s team has done is rare in this day and age. It’s usually tough to get to a national title game, let alone win it back-to-back, enough to silence SEC bashers and naysayers who honestly felt ‘Bama didn’t deserve to play in the national scene. I guess you can point your fingers at me. I was one of those few bashers and naysayers, but after this performance, I now realize how truly remarkable Alabama is when it comes to handling business if the stakes are high. There’s not been a time, since Saban’s arrival, that Alabama failed to win a national title game or even a contest with bowl implications. Dynasties, believe it or not, are a rarity and, of course, Saban is not satisfied.
As of now, he’s thinking about next season, he’s telling his boys to not overly celebrate and be ready to get back to work, he’s concerned about winning it next season. It’s a strategy, in recent memory, that he’s stuck to so well, and he’s never, not once, became bigheaded after a title game but managed to keep his boys focus and looking ahead to next season. He pretends like he doesn’t know what happened. He’s not really a person who boasts and smiles after a victory but goes right back to work, aiming to keep his team ranked at the top and secure a spot in the BCS national championship game, as he did this year with his strategic coaching and moral standards.
The least Saban is worried about, while he’s reached the standard of excellence and savors a moment of exhilaration and completeness, is his place in history. It doesn’t matter to him, as it may matter to, say, the general public who are desperately trying to debate where he stands among elite coaches in the modern era.
What better way to show the nation that you are the No. 1 team by knocking off Notre Dame, which entered the BCS championship as the nation’s No. 1-ranked program? There was no mistake on the scoreboard — and there never was any competition in the game. It was all Alabama, from beginning to end. Notre Dame was crying, from beginning to end. Trailing by three touchdowns, Notre Dame took a risk and decided to try to convert on fourth-and-5 from Alabama’s 39-yard line. It was totally clear by the second quarter that the Irish had no shot against the Crimson Tide, no shot at all.
Let’s be clear: Anyone with eyes saw Notre Dame senior linebacker, Manti Te’o, the Heisman finalist, allow Lacey and Yeldon to run over him. Yeah, we can see Notre Dame defenders never neutralized Lacey’s rushing attack. All night, he wasn’t afraid to push forward and slash through defenders, gaining 140 yards and scoring twice. More impressively, McCarron completed 20 of 28 passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns — he wasn’t harassed and barely was touched. Then there was Everett Golson, who was petrified and terrified for much of the night, beat up and running for his life on every series. At one point, Alabama led 35-0. There was nothing else to see.
That was the point when it was simple to realize that Notre Dame was no match for Alabama.
In the meantime, Saban will try for a three-peat. That’s unprecedented but it’s greatly a possibility.