Though Notre Dame and Alabama most certainly have their faithful followings, would anyone really dispute they're also #1 and #2, not necessarily in that order, the most disliked college football teams in America nationwide?
Nevertheless, if you watched the game, how else can you put it? A mismatch. Men against boys. Worms against robins. Kitty cats against pit bulls. Barney Fifes against Rambos. What the Crimson Tide did to the Fighting Irish was a flat-out beatdown.
Notre Dame's vaunted defense, which was statistically amongst the best in the nation regarding allowing points scored, rushing, passing, and total yards against -- was shredded. Bama had not one, but two running backs that gained over 100 yards. When Notre Dame tried to stuff the run, Alabama's sure-handed wide receivers made catches for big chunks of yardage. They not only dominated every facet of the game, including both sides of the line of scrimmage, but even had veteran announcer Brent Musberger throw out the comment -- "If this were a boxing match, they'd call it off". And that was only towards the end of the FIRST HALF, when Alabama was cruising along to the tune of 28-0.
To start the 3rd quarter, after intercepting a Notre Dame pass, Alabama stuffed a 97-yard touchdown drive down the throats of the leprechauns to make it 35-0. By then, the fat lady was into her encores. The late Dandy Don Meredith had turned out the lights. Even Yogi Berra likely would have said it was over.
Then it appeared Bama lost a bit of their intensity. That was understandable. It's tough to stay geeked when you already know you can swat your opponent down like a pesky mosquito anytime you feel like it. Though the Crimson Tide faithful were no doubt rooting for a shut-out, and complete humiliation, the boys from South Bend finally scored a touchdown. Alabama would match it with yet another of their own -- just to remind them that while they were kicking back a bit, they could still light them up whenever they felt like it. Towards the end Notre Dame scored a meaningless touchdown in "garbage time". Final score 42-14, and it wasn't even that close.
A couple interesting things happened, though. Alabama still had some fight left in them. They'd become bored with Notre Dame, so their QB A.J. McCarron got into an altercation with Barrett Jones, his own center, of all people. Evidently, Jones didn't snap the ball when A.J. wanted him to so the QB got up into his face. Most times an offensive lineman would take such abuse, but not Jones. He shoved his own QB away on national TV, and who knows what he said.... but I'd guess it was something like -- get outta my face boy. Probably good advice, given that Jones outweighed him by about 100 lbs, and is likely a first round NFL draft pick, while A.J. doesn't seem to have the pro scouts aflutter just yet.
Of course, there's the ever-lovable Alabama head coach Nick Saban, that seems to have made a career out of displaying the loyalty of a vulture. Many times Saban will allow himself to be interviewed in what looks a lot like Butler's Cabin at the famed Augusta National golf course, home of the Masters Tournament. A nice quiet setting, the fireplace softly burning in the background, Nick comfortably clad in casual attire, replete with leisure shoes and no socks, and fielding "softball" questions that are offered up to him by the suck-ass reporter of the day. Perhaps the only thing that would be better is if the good Mr. Saban would be quoting Gandhi or Mother Teresa while thoughtfully smoking a pipe between his eloquent responses. Aah. How peaceful.
But then see him on the sidelines of a football field, where he can turn into a neck-vein-bulging, spit-spraying, name your cuss word raving lunatic while berating officials over a call he didn't particularly care for. Oh my. It appears the little mercenary has his dark side indeed.
Regardless, congrats to Alabama after trashing Notre Dame and becoming national champions once again. Three times in 4 years is truly impressive.
But if I was one of those officials on the sidelines that was suffering the wrath of Saban, here's what I'd do -- For his first infraction, give him a warning that I'm only doing my job and back off. The second time around -- throw a penalty flag. A 15 yard penalty would be asssessed for unsportsmanlike conduct. Third time? Another 15 yard unsportsmanlike and immediate ejection from the game. Like many high profile head coaches, Saban seems to think he can abuse whoever he feels like at the time and get away with it.
Like his team put Notre Dame in their place, so should the officials step up and put people like Nick Saban in their place when they get start getting out of control and start thinking they're above reproach.
Do I hear any nay votes?