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Bama embarrasses Irish for BCS title, 42-14
Miami Lakes, FL -
Alabama drove through Notre Dame's heralded front seven like a hot knife through
butter with an 82-yard scoring drive as RB Eddie Lacy finished it off with an
18-yard touchdown run. As we've observed over the years, the second
offensive possession of any team after a scoring drive
At the half, Bama led 28-0
after an early 2nd quarter one-yard run by frosh RB T.J. Yelden (108 yards on 21
carries, 1 TD),
I'm not big on bowl game
halftime extravaganzas, give me the two school marching bands and get on
with the game as far as I'm concerned. I have to say, however, that this
halftime was evidently not destined to be memorable at all as most are supposed
to be. I thought it kind of unusual that the main headliner was the "Miami
Sound Machine" without its star, Gloria Estefan. But what was truly
memorable during one break in the action was the presentation of the 2012
Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award to Clemson redshirt freshman wide
receiver Daniel Rodriguez of Stafford, VA. Sergeant Daniel Rodriguez , 24,
was wounded in action during an ambush by the Taliban in October 2009 near
Notre Dame could have used some courage like this to attempt a comeback, but that didn't happen against an overwhelming Alabama football team. Their first possession resulted in an INT by Bama DB Haha Clinton-Dix at Alabama's three as HaHa dragged one foot inbounds to make the reception. From there , The Tide rolled 97 yards for a score as McCarron connected with Cooper for a 34-yard TD and a commanding 35-0 lead. Finally, the Irish put together a drive of 85 yards on the next series when Golson ran it in from the two to erase its goose egg, 35-7. Guest Game analyst Eric turned toward me and said, "Can we go now?" I was just too exasperated to move yet.
In the fourth, McCarron connected with Cooper for a nine-yard scoring play. ND scored again to make the score 42-14. On that note I said, "Let's go." We had to get up at 6 am to catch our flight and I wanted to fill up the rental and pack when we got back to the hotel. No sense in sitting in traffic if we didn't have to after watching a horrible one-sided Bowl championship that we anticipated to at least be a competitive game. I hope we can get to another one to make up for this one, but who knows when? It as an anticlimactic game for us after having enjoyed many good and competitive games during our regular season. Can't wait until next August to start things up again!
Extra points: Some stats to start - Time of possession for Alabama 38:13 to 21:47 for the Irish. Yardage: 529 to 302. Reports indicated that Te-o finished with 10 tackles. Eight must have been made after we left.
We flew into Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday afternoon and headed down to Miami Beach right away to where the stage was set up on the beach for a Notre Dame pep rally beginning at 7 pm. Alabama's rally was earlier. The place was mobbed with Irish fans. We were about 100 yards from the stage. Behind us was another 200 yards of Notre Dame fans at least. The cheerleaders came out, the band played the fight song, and former ND player, proud Alum, and ESPN broadcaster Mike Golic MC'd for the event. He talked about his sons being on the team and how focused the Irish were and how Brian Kelly had his team ready. Everyone believed him. He was happy that he didn't have to be as controlled as he normally has to be on his "Mike and Mike " radio program. Next came Martin Short, the actor and comedian who has a couple of kids who graduated from ND. I never thought the guy was funny and he still wasn't. I saw him in "Three Amigos" a long time go and that was so-so. The only funny thing I remember him in was an SNL skit about he and another guy performing as men's synchronized swimmers in the Olympics. It was funny. I didn't even know who he was a the time. Next came on Joe Theisman who I watched on all those 11 am Notre Dame highlight films on Sunday mornings back in the early 70s. He was pumped. Pat Terrell and Tony Rice of the '88 championship team gave short speeches. Then came Lou Holtz with his typically funny and somewhat inspiring stories. He even defended Mark May as a nice guy despite being a Notre Dame detractor! We and all the Irish fans left feeling good about Notre Dame's chances on Monday night. We couldn't wait! We thought the Irish were ready to make this a great championship game.
The next day, we went back to the beach to see what was going on. Eric plans to join the Navy after graduation this fall. I took him for lunch to watch the Colts-Ravens game and check out the scantily clad waitresses. Later, I heard from Dan Donnelly from "Dan's Tailgate Blog" who came to town to stay with his friend Terry and a bunch of family from Maryland who are Notre Dame die-hards. We caught up with them at Miller's Sports bar in North Miami Beach to watch their Redskins fall to the Seahawks. Having torn and ACL and Medial lateral meniscus playing club lacrosse in college, I could not watch replays of RG III's injury. Good luck to him! We met another ND/Redskin fan who said he went to school with John Kuhn of the Packers. "Oh , you went to Shippensburg!" I said. He did, and we got to talking about his duty in the Air Force recently. He gave Eric some good insight into military life and advantages and disadvantages of each branch and what he should consider before he joins. It was an enlightening discussion for my son.
For a non-football change of pace, Eric and I went Sawgrass State Park in Weston early Monday morning to take an airboat ride through the everglades. Saw one big gator and sped over a lot of high grass. It was ok. Checked out some reptiles and local wildcats in their small zoo after wards. The Florida Panther is a beautiful animal.
We went to the Bud Light Game Day Fan Zone before meeting up with Dan, Terry et al to tailgate. Picked up a few things at the concession stand, but I have to say after doing the Orange Bowl here for a few years , you'd think they'd be better organized. People working there were slow and untrained, very disorganized. They must only make money in their margins because they certainly don't make money on the volume they sell there. One cashier worked, no organized lines, workers had to go back to displays to look for right sizes shirts, they could get one article at a time and go back to ask what the next item was, etc. What a mess. Glad I got what I did when I did otherwise I would have wasted a lot more time to cut into tailgating once Dan and Terry arrived.
Staying at a local 'time-share"of sorts, Dan and Terry had coolers, grills, picked up food. etc. with a lot of Terry's family with them. We chipped in. They had the plan in place already. One of Terry's nephew's wrestled for American U, ranked No. 5 in the country last year. Talked about some wrestling connections. Two of his sons played college football - one at Hampden-Sydney in Virginia and the other at St. Vincent's, summer camp of the Pittsburgh Steelers in Latrobe, PA, former home of the Rolling Rock brewery, one of my favorites. We were all rooting for Notre Dame, but admiring a lot of the women from Alabama who walked by though they shouted "Roll Tide" to us! Dan was talking about converting! We talked and grilled near media trailers in Lot 5. Who happened to walk in nearby? Former Georgia DE, SEC supporter, and ESPN analyst David Pollack. Let me say that I never realized how tall he is sitting behind that desk on ESPN! Later, I was introduced to Monsignor John, an acquaintance of Dan's. He came in from South Dakota, a Notre Dame fan and big college football fan. Turns out he played college ball at D-3 St. John's in Minnesota for John Gagliardi back in the 50s. For those who might recognize the name, HC Gagliardi just retired this year after setting the record for the most wins ever at any level in the NCAA. He's won national championships and been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
In Sun Life Stadium, as we noted during the entire weekend, Notre Dame fans must have out numbered Alabama fans about five to one. The crowd totaled 80,120. The Wings of Blue Parachute team from the Air Force Academy landed with the game ball before the game. Notre Dame helmets gleamed. That was their last "shining" moment before the game began.
One disadvantage we found out about the next day from articles about Brent Mussberger's comments, we sat nowhere near Katherine Webb. Had we known, we could have at least had an incentive to work our way down before leaving. Maybe we could have gotten a lasting, memorable photo for our trip.
On the way home, we flew from Ft. Lauderdale to Charlotte to Allentown, PA. On the second leg, Matt Millen, former Penn State All American, All Pro Oakland Raider, former GM of the Detroit Lions, and football color commentator was on our flight. At the ABE Airport I got to catch up with him for a few minutes to talk about the game and a little about Penn State. He said he left the game at halftime. Like us , he was surprised how Alabama dominated Penn State. He said he got a text from Chip Kelly of Oregon not believing that his team wasn't there instead. I thought later that with the way things are set up now, 12-0 Notre Dame defeated Stanford. 11-1 Oregon lost to Stanford. If U of O had won that one, he might have a claim to that opportunity, but the way it is now, the BCS had it right. We can't wait for playoffs, but we still say eight is not only enough but the right number. I enjoyed having the opportunity to get to talk to Matt Millen about college football.
"SEC? SEC?" Stop that chant. Alabama is definitely no doubt number one, but that doesn't mean the whole SEC is on top. C'mon! First of all, aside from Texas A&M who they lost to, LSU who played them tough in the regular season, and UGA in the SEC Championship, Alabama rolled everybody else in the SEC and the cupcakes they played outside of conference (In my walk around Sun Life before the game, I yelled out, "You're not playing West Carolina or Florida Atlantic tonight!" Some Bama fan responded that ND's not playing Navy! Dumb ass! Navy beat Florida Atlantic this year.) A&M comes from the Big 12 and right away they are a top SEC team. Before the season, everyone in the SEC claimed that they and Missouri were going to see how tough the SEC is compared to where they came from. That didn't happen. The SEC finished 1-4 this season against the Big East. LSU and Florida lost their Bowl games to teams ranked lower from other conferences . LSU didn't play Georgia, but the two played Towson and Georgia Southern of the FCS respectively. The great pretenders from Mississippi State beat Jackson State, Troy, South Alabama, and Middle Tennessee for four of their seven wins. If every team in the FBS played those four they'd be 4-0, too. Alabama only played Georgia because they had to in the FBS title game. They didn't play South Carolina or Florida. My point is had they played amongst each other, a few of those teams would have a few more blemishes on their records. Overall, the SEC's non-conference schedule is a joke loaded up with patsies all played at home. Ole Miss improved? Everyone could improve to three more wins against Central Arkansas, UTEP, and Tulane. Did Ole Miss really get better, or did Auburn and Arkansas get worse? I already had my say about their other victim, Mississippi State. So is the whole SEC head and shoulders above all the rest in college football? We say no, but Alabama certainly is. So stop touting the entire SEC as so dominant over all of college football.
Be sure to check out our latest in Steveo's Salvos!