There’s not really any way to describe Alabama’s 42-7 BCS National Championship beat down of Notre Dame on Monday night, other than to say this: The final score wasn’t indicative of how one-sided this game was. From start to finish, and in every way shape and form, the Crimson Tide were the better football team and Alabama has a third National Championship in four years to show for it.
And the scary thing is, they are only now getting started.
Of course before we talk about the future it’s only fair we start in the present, where the Crimson Tide put on a clinic, in one of the most dominant big game performances in recent college football history. Looking at the box score tells you everything you need to know about this one; Alabama led 28-0 at halftime and 35-0 before the Irish scored their first points of the game. Even when the Irish did put up their two touchdowns, it was long after Nick Saban had called off the dogs and well past the point that the game was ever in any doubt. Those 14 points were mere box score stuffers, little more than semantics in a game which had long since been decided.
For Alabama it all started on the opening drive where they established from the beginning who’d have the edge in the match-up between their offensive line and Notre Dame’s front seven. It would be Alabama, and it went official when they took the opening kick-off 82 yards in five plays, capped by a 20-yard Eddie Lacy touchdown run for the first score of the game. If anything, it was a sign of things to come all night for both teams; entering Monday, Notre Dame had allowed just two rushing touchdowns the entire season. Alabama had one in the first four minutes of the game.
From there the Crimson Tide really did put on a clinic for the ages. Lacy finished the game as Alabama’s dominant force on either side of the ball with 140 yards rushing and a touchdown on both the ground and through the air. His back-up T.J. Yeldon had a “quiet” 108 yards, while quarterback A.J. McCarron was again masterful through the air. A year after throwing for 234 yards in the Tide’s BCS title win over LSU, he was even better Monday, tossing for 264 yards and four touchdowns.
Again, we cannot emphasize this enough: Alabama didn’t just beat Notre Dame. They beat them up.
Of course we can’t let the Irish off the hook here either, if only because they simply didn’t play their best football, or anywhere close against Alabama. Sure there was a clear talent disparity between the two clubs, but that doesn’t excuse Notre Dame’s simply inability to execute simple fundamental things like open field tackling. As Kirk Herbstreit said during the game, it seemed like Notre Dame missed more tackles on Monday night than they had all year, and watching with the naked eye it sure seemed that way. Even All-American linebacker Manti Te’o wasn’t immune; the BCS title game was undoubtedly the worst of his 2012 season.
Going back to Alabama though, it’s time to talk about the win and the rare company it puts them in. The Crimson Tide are the first team since USC in the mid-2000’s to win back-to-back titles, and even that’s not totally accurate since the Trojans split their first National Championship with LSU (a club which was ironically coached by Nick Saban of course). Alabama is also the first team since the mid-1990’s Nebraska clubs to win three titles in four years.
It’s safe to say that Alabama has officially arrived as a dynasty. And the scary thing is that they’re not slowing down any time soon.
Yes, this club will lose some talent next season, particularly on the offensive line where Barrett Jones will graduate and Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker will likely go pro a season early. Lacy seems intent on heading to the NFL a year ahead of schedule, and frankly with the way he played Monday night he’d be insane not to. A number of seniors on the defense will depart Tuscaloosa including Jesse Williams, Robert Lester and Quinton Dial.
Of course with all that said, Alabama returns plenty of talent too, especially for a National Champion and certainly more than they did this season after winning last year’s title. Remember, this defense was young and largely rebuilt after last January’s win over LSU and the vast majority of starters and key players will be back on that side of the ball next year.
On offense McCarron returns to go along with his top wide receiver (Amari Cooper) and Yeldon, Lacy’s back-up who just so happened to surpass 1,000 on Monday night. Not to mention another top recruiting class will arrive in the fall, ready to step in and fill the void for those who are now leaving campus. As scary as it is to think, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Alabama didn’t start the year No. 1 in 2013.
Simply put, a dynasty was born at Alabama on Monday night.
And from the looks of things, it doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.
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