It was supposed to be a dream matchup. Alabama, the SEC juggernaut, where college football is king. Notre Dame, an undefeated season and seeking a return to glory, after being king of the sport's mountain for years. It didn't turn out that way.
The Fighting Irish were the only unbeaten team this season, but were still a 10-point underdog in tonight's NCAA Championship game. You had to wonder why. That is, until the end of the first quarter. On the first play of the second period, the Crimson Tide scored from one-yard out. The extra point was good, and Alabama took a 21-0 lead, and that was all she wrote. It was 28-0 at halftime, 35-0 before Notre Dame scored their first touchdown just before the end of the third quarter. 'Bama scored early in the fourth, before they allowed a TD late. Final score: Alabama 42, Notre Dame 14.
Running back Eddie Lacy was named the Offensive MVP, running for 140 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback A.J. McCarron completed 20 of 28 passes for 264 yards and 4 TDs. It was an Alabama night in Miami.
Tide coach Nick Saban didn't let his players use the R-word (repeat), and he also didn't like it much when the media used the D-word (dynasty), but both are applicable now. Alabama is the first to repeat in the BCS era, and are just the third school to win three championships in four years (Nebraska in the 1990s, and Notre Dame in the 1940s). It's the fourth crystal football in ten years for Saban, who won a title with LSU in 2004.
When the four-team playoff arrives in two years, they should just set it up so that the winner of one bracket takes on the Southeastern Conference champions. The SEC has now won seven straight BCS titles (Florida, LSU, Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Alabama, Alabama). Now, that's a dynasty.
#1 vs #2: The BCS was created in 1998 to match the top-two ranked teams against each other for a national title. Since then, the number one team going into the championship game has a record of 7-8. Alabama was the second-ranked team this year, and last year. They were number one before they beat Texas for the title in 2010.
January makes its case: I've previously crowned October as the best sports month of the year. There's the World Series, all four major pro sports are going at once, and college football has some great early matchups. March is a close second, with the NCAA basketball tournament, and spring training. But how about January? The New Year's Day bowl games (which really weren't that great this year), college football's championship, Australian Open tennis, and the NFL playoffs. There's no baseball in there, so January can't be number one, but it's still a pretty good month.
So there's hockey now?: Unless you are from the Northeast, the upper Midwest, anywhere in Canada, or are a Phoenix Coyotes season ticket holder, you probably completely forgot (or were unaware) that there was a hockey lockout. Well, it's over now, both sides made a deal, and a shortened season will begin later this month. I have no idea whether the owners or the players got the better end of the bargain. After the New Year's Day Outdoor Classic was canceled, it was okay with me if they wiped out the whole season. More time to say the Los Angeles Kings are Stanley Cup Champions.
Awards season: Wednesday kicks of the cavalcade of the numerous awards shows for 2013. We'll think of the People's Choice Awards as a warm-up tournament, but with Kaley Cuoco hosting and a promoted appearance by Mariah Carey, it's definitely worth a look... Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, and I think the choice of those two to co-host is genious. We'll see if it turns out that way...Speaking of Fey, I finally got around to watching the Kennedy Center Honors over the weekend (aired December 26th but the event itself was actually in early December). Fey was the presenter for David Letterman's award. The entire two-hour program was a great show.