The Alabama Crimson Tide won their second consecutive National Championship—the third in four years, by dismantling the previously unbeaten Fighting Irish of Notre Dame 42-14 in the Discover BCS National Championship Monday in South Florida. The win makes it seven championships in a row for the mighty SEC, and marks the fourth title for Coach Nick Saban. Only ‘The Bear’ has more titles than Saban now, Coach Bryant winning six in his tenure at The Capstone. Overall it is the 15th championship, 10th of the poll era, for Alabama.
It could not have been clearer, any more quickly, that ‘Bama was the vastly superior team. If one were to assume Notre Dame might have a chance to win or even keep it close, they would assume the Irish could physically hold up and contain the Tide’s great running duo of Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon. Just 2:57 in, the illusion of that notion was blown as wide open as Notre Dame’s defensive front was by Eddie Lacy’s 20-yard touchdown that gave Alabama a 7-0 lead.
Following an Irish three-and-out, which uncharacteristically was comprised with three passes, the Tide marched another 61 yards on 10 plays—with Lacy accounting for 41 yards on five carries. Heisman Trophy finalist, ND’s Manti Te’O, missed two tackles on the drive, likely as many as he missed all season in important play.
The tone was set and the outcome was clear. Perhaps this was why Notre Dame largely abandoned the running game from the outset, instead trying to win on the arm of freshman QB Everett Golson. The Irish rushed for only 32 yards on the night, Alabama totaled 265 at 5.9 a clip. Game over.
It was 28-0 by halftime, and Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly knew what the situation was remarking that the game was all Alabama and suggesting maybe they (Alabama) not come out for the second half.
It was not only the inability to run the ball on offense (or the unwillingness to) that crippled the Irish. ND sustained virtually no pressure on Alabama QB A.J. McCarron. McCarron, never sacked and rarely pressured, completed 20-of-28 for 264 yards and four touchdowns. The hardest hit McCarron sustained all night was that of his center Barrett Jones, who shoved him after a disagreement following a delay-of-game penalty in the fourth quarter.
Notre Dame managed two touchdowns, after they already trailed 35-0, prompting Saban to comment during the postgame interview how disappointed he was in how the defense could not finish the game. Tide LB Nico Johnson lamented how they could not deliver another shutout, as they did last year in the title game. The quest for perfection never takes a moment off, and that’s the reason why Alabama is enjoying the unprecedented run it is now enjoying.
We are only in the middle of this run. The Tide figures to begin 2013 #1 once again, and who could argue with three titles in four years? In this era, that’s the greatest program in the history of college football. The Tide just keeps on rolling.