Luck of the Irish finally runs out for Notre Dame
AMERICAN FOOTBALL:They called the football game played here Monday night a national championship, a title clash for the ages, epic, 1monumental, historic.
Then Notre Dame kicked the ball off. Then Alabama drove down the field, unimpeded, as if out for a night-time 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, 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 drama.
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. The whole exercise brought to mind a famous quote from Mike Tyson. Everybody has a plan, he said – until getting punched in the face.
On Monday, Alabama bludgeoned Notre Dame, repeatedly. They controlled the game with both lines, on offence and defence, putting on a clinic in power football. It ran all over a defence known for its ability to stop the run. Alabama so dominated that it reminded sports fans that NBA games were also available for viewing Monday night, and that Notre Dame’s best chance for a national title is in women’s basketball.
This only strengthened the claim few at Alabama dared to make before Monday night: that coach Nick Saban, has created a college football dynasty. This was his fourth national championship and third since he left the Miami Dolphins to return to college football at Alabama. One could easily argue it was also his most impressive.
Only two other college coaches can claim at least four titles. One is John McKay of Southern California. The other is Paul “Bear” Bryant, the legend who made Alabama football famous.
33rd NFL team
Now there is Saban, a coach who must contend with fewer scholarships than afforded Bryant and who faces far stiffer competition. Yet despite those limitations, Saban runs a program that resembles a 33rd NFL team as closely as a college football powerhouse. This season, despite the close loss to Texas AM, only reinforced that notion.
Saban spent all of last week scoffing at any comparison between himself and Bryant, and this from a man with a 9-foot-tall statue of himself outside his office. Monday was another step, for Saban’s legacy and for Alabama’s program and for the Southeastern Conference, from which a team secured the national championship for the seventh-straight season.