This is my column for today’s editions:
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Alabama gave Notre Dame a beating so badly and thoroughly Monday night Knute Rockne must’ve felt it.
The Gipper felt it. Rudy felt it. Joe Montana felt it. All those Irish national championship teams felt it.
This magical matchup was expected to set TV ratings. Instead, they hit with a thud as Alabama hammered Notre Dame 42-14 in the BCS National Championship Game.
The Crimson Tide beat Notre Dame like they stole something. They beat Notre Dame like they were Florida Atlantic. They beat them like they were Florida Atlantic and they stole something.
They beat Notre Dame like they stole Bear Bryant‘s houndstooth hat.
For those of a certain generation, this one couldn’t help but reverberate back through history. This was was magically delicious for older Alabama fans.
It won’t make up for 1966 when poll voters denied an unbeaten, untied Alabama team and instead awarded the national title to Notre Dame. Or 1977 when Alabama lost to Notre Dame at the polls … again.
It won’t make up for that heartbreaking 1973 Sugar Bowl when Notre Dame ruined Alabama’s unbeaten season. Or Notre Dame wins over Bryant teams in 1974, 1976 and 1980.
But for the Bryant generation of Tide fans, any time somebody wants to say, “What about Notre Dame?” they finally can say, “Yeah, what about Notre Dame?”
Alabama beat Notre Dame so completely, the margin of victory passed the combined margin of the previous six times the two schools played in 1974-87. Notre Dame outscored Alabama by 26 while holding a 5-1 edge in those games. The Crimson Tide won Monday night by 28.
This one got out of hand so quickly, we’re told that by the second quarter, all ESPN’s Brent Musberger apparently had left to talk about was how attractive he thought Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron‘s girlfriend is. I’m sure former Miss Alabama Katherine Webb really appreciate that.
This wasn’t a fluke, either, and not just because Las Vegas favored Alabama by 10 points to win. Favorites have fallen in the BCS title game before.
Notre Dame isn’t this bad. The Irish really did deserve to be here. Seriously. Really, I’m serious.
Alabama simply is better. Much better. Worlds better. The Crimson Tide has better players and better coaching and has built more momentum than anybody in the country.
Notre Dame put forth linebacker Manti Te’o as its best player, but against Alabama, he wiffed on more tackles than he made. Maybe he should gave back some of those awards he won? He won’t have to go far to do so. Just walk across to the Alabama locker room and give them to C.J. Mosley.
The Irish enters this one having given up 10 touchdowns in 12 games. Alabama scored six in one.
Alabama was so relentless in this one, McCarron and good friend and center Barrett Jones got into a verbal spat on the field … leading by 28 with six minutes to play.
Those days when Notre Dame got the benefit of the doubt just because they were Notre Dame? Those days are gone for a while.
Now, Alabama gets the benefit of the doubt, as it should.
The Crimson Tide has put together one of the most dominant eras in college football history. Only three other schools have won three national titles in a four-year span: Notre Dame in 1946-49 and Nebraska in 1994-97.
College football might not see anything like this for a while … unless Alabama follows up with three more national titles in the next four years. And the way Nick Saban has the recruiting lifeline pumping talent back into the roster every year, that’s not a far-fetched possibility.