MIAMI — Why on earth didn’t Brian Kelly put Jarrett Lee in at quarterback?
Something must have happened in the Notre Dame locker room before the game to cause the Fighting Irish to play so poorly.
There’s gotta be a reason, any reason for Alabama crushing the life out of a second straight top-ranked opponent in the BCS National Championship Game, right?
Conspiracy theorists, go find a hammock somewhere on Miami Beach and sit this one out.
Maybe it’s time everyone just admits the stark, rather frightening truth:
Alabama is just this good.
You thought Bama’s 21-0 pasting of LSU in last year’s title tilt in New Orleans was a lopsided affair? Compared to this 42-14 Miami mismatch, that game was a thrill ride to the finish.
On those syndicated Notre Dame highlight shows back in the ’70s, legendary announcer Lindsey Nelson used to always say, “We move ahead to further action” between big plays. One quarter into this one, the Fighting Irish were ready to move ahead to next season.
Notre Dame’s supposed strength, its physical defense, parted like the Irish Sea in the face of an Alabama offense that looked like the Red Army marching through Czechoslovakia.
One, two, three, Bama scored touchdowns on its first three drives to make it 21-0 one play into the second quarter, and just like that the Irish were counted out. At that point, Notre Dame had one first down and 23 yards of total offense.
Say what you want about LSU in last year’s BCS game — and most have — but it didn’t get to 21-0 in that one until midway through the fourth quarter.
Notre Dame’s vaunted front seven was rendered defenseless by Alabama’s powerful offensive line long before that. Nose guard Louis Nix, supposedly the best NFL prospect on either team? Neutralized. Middle linebacker Manti Te’o, the Heisman Trophy runner-up? Grasping at grass most of the night.
How about Notre Dame’s secondary, which actually came in allowing fewer passing yards per game than Alabama (194 to 215)? If you can find a grass stain on AJ McCarron, speak now because he had decades to carve up the Irish pass defense for 264 yards and four touchdowns. The only drama for McCarron came in the fourth quarter, when center Barrett Jones shoved him after McCarron got in his face for not doing something perfectly.
Oh, and Dutchtown’s Eddie Lacy (the offensive MVP) and understudy T.J. Yeldon rushed for 140 and 108 yards as Alabama piled up 265 yards on the ground, an uncanny offensive balance that would make a figure skater envious.
Envious is all the rest of the college football world can be as Bama won its third title in four years and the Southeastern Conference celebrates its seventh straight.
But please, no need for second-guessing until next season.
Bama was, and is, just that good.
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