Okay, first of all, a disclaimer: I am not a sports writer. I don’t have anything against sports writers, it’s just not my thing. But I’m sitting at home recovering from a serious case of the crud, still running a fever, but feeling better enough to be bored. So, here are some rambling, cough-medicine-influenced thoughts…
I’ve been thinking Monday night’s BCS Championship Game between Notre Dame and Alabama. Okay, well, honestly, it wasn’t much of a game – it was a 42-14 butt-kicking delivered by Alabama. But it makes me wonder – was Notre Dame really that overrated, or is Alabama really that good?
Maybe it was just a perfect storm that sank ND. Can you say that the Tide surprised the Irish, got them off balance, and never let them have a chance to play their kind of football? Well, yeah, that’s for sure what happened, but maybe if you replayed the game several times, maybe the outcome would be different.
I DON’T think you can just dismiss Notre Dame as overrated. That’s a cop-out. No, ND beat some very good teams this year, including solid wins over Michigan State, Stanford and OU, among others. That said, I do think the national sports media WANTS Notre Dame football in the championship mix. They NEED Notre Dame in the championship mix. So maybe the media was willing to allow ND’s heritage and traditions – and their huge fan base – to count for more than it should.
But if Notre Dame wasn’t overrated, then is Alabama really that good? Well, for most teams, playing Alabama is the high point of their season, so they always play at their best. And yet, Alabama, for the most part, just keeps winning. From the 2008 season until now, Alabama has lost just six games. Six. Two of those were to LSU, and of course this year’s only loss – WHOOP! – to Texas A&M.
(By the way, congratulations to the Aggies on a fine season. The final rankings have them as fifth in the nation – been a while since an A&M team finished that well. So, Whoop! and Gig ‘Em!)
Meanwhile, Nick Saban is definitely looking like he needs to get fitted for a black and white houndstooth fedora. Wallace Wade, Frank Thomas, Bear Bryant, Gene Stallings – guys, make a little room. Saban has shown he belongs. Reload with new personnel, retool with new assistants, whatever. The guy just wins, and he seems to do it with some integrity.
With three championships in four years, Alabama is definitely a very good program. Are they ready to be considered among college football’s dynasties?
In the late 1930s and early 40s, it was Minnesota. Notre Dame was it in the late 40s. Of course, Oklahoma absolutely dominated with 47 consecutive wins throughout the mid-1950s. In the early 60s, Bear Bryant was putting together the first Alabama dynasty. Then in the late 60s and early 70s, it was USC. From 71-75, it was Oklahoma again, and in the late 70s, it was Alabama again. Then, throughout the 80s and early 90s, Miami won four championships, and missed winning four others by one game. For the rest of the 90s, it was Nebraska and Florida State. Then, USC again under Pete Carroll, and then you’re into the current SEC domination.
Personally, I don’t have a dog in this fight. Has this Alabama squad earned the distinction as a “dynasty?” I suppose that’s for history to decide. But it’s fun to watch.
I’m gonna go take some more cough medicine.