The BCS, 'Bama, The Bachelor: What we learned last night

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Jan 7, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron (10) kisses the national championship trophy after the 2013 BCS Championship game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Sun Life Stadium. Alabama won 42-14.  Mandatory Credit: Eileen Blass-USA TODAY SportsIn last night’s National Championship Game, Alabama rolled in a 42-14 victory over the Irish.  This was a score that some – maybe even many – suspected deep-down, but were probably a bit too nervous to predict out loud (unless you live in Alabama).  And while this score looks bad, it doesn’t even do an adequate job in describing the way that ‘Bama dominated every phase of the game.  At half-time I tweeted:

Which is more likely: Bama completes the shutout or Bama drops 50? Or both? #Findingwaystostayinterested

Neither of those two things happened.  And no, I didn’t find a way to stay fully devoted or interested in the BCS Championship Game.  But there are some takeaways from last night’s game – things we learned (or confirmed):

The Bachelor is going to be super cray cray, OMG! *screamed in my best sorority voice*:
Sean Lowe is this season’s hunky bachelor looking for love.  He was one of the final three guys from last season’s bachelorette, but never got further than that.  The fit, blonde-haired, family-oriented, give-it-up-for-God, Dallas man is apparently what all the ladies are looking for these days.  (Wait, did I just fall in love too??) 

By half-time I could no longer defend watching only the BCS game to my girlfriend (thanks a lot, ND).  Actually, on second thought, thanks a lot ND.  Seriously.  Because it turns out that the Bachelor was more entertaining and action-packed than the football game being played.  

As it turns out, there was some *gasp* drama on the bachelor already.  Sean decided to bend the rules and give out roses whenever he felt like it, at least a few girls tipped back a few too many drinks (one even fell down), and someone showed up in a wedding dress.  Wow.

Yes, the SEC is “that good”:
There have been grumbles from some (in other conferences, of course) that the SEC is overrated and gets an unfair amount of attention and consideration when it comes to BCS games, particularly the National Championship Game.  Well, guess what! ‘Bama rolled, and they rolled big over the Irish.  And we saw them win some squeakers in the SEC.  I guess that conference must have some decent competition.

Notre Dame also happens to be in a unique position.  Because they are the favorite football child and don’t have to play by the rules, they get to “sample” a lot of conferences.  You could call it a smorgasbord schedule – they meet the Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, ACC, and Pac 12.  You could make the argument that they could (should) have lost a few of those games, but they were able to pull out a victory against every team.  Even if they had lost one of those games, it wouldn’t have been in blowout fashion.  The glaringly absent conference from that list is the SEC.  And Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide showed Notre Dame that SEC football is different – very different – than football in any other conference in America.  The SEC Alabama team was bigger, faster, stronger, and better coached. 

Jan 7, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te'o (5) reacts during the second half of the 2013 BCS Championship game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Sun Life Stadium.   Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY SportsThe Irish skeptics were right:
Related to the above.  There are more than a handful of Irish skeptics and naysayers who screamed at the top of their lungs that the Irish were not the top team in the country.  Some argued that even with an unblemished record, they didn’t deserve to be in this game.  They claimed that struggling to wins against lower than SEC-level competition wasn’t enough to be considered for a national championship.  After last night’s shellacking, I think we have to admit that there is at least some truth to that. 

The Irish did capture the hearts of many and rekindled the love-affair with the trademark golden helmeted team.  With a top recruiting class coming in next season, the question remains as to whether they can prove to be relevant once again.  It will take a few years of prominence to quiet the skeptics. 

Playoffs Playoffs Playoffs!:
Though college football has recently come around to the idea of a playoff system (set to start after the 2014 season), it didn’t arrive soon enough.  This year’s matchup of an undefeated (though often discredited) Notre Dame team versus a one-loss Alabama did not satisfy fans’ appetites for a good, competitive championship game.  It left a lot of potentially great matchups to our imaginations (as always).  Teams with only one loss – Oregon, Florida, Kansas State were all left in the cold.  A lot of good two loss teams were as well – Texas A&M (would’ve loved that rematch!), LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, and so on.  Instead we saw an unappealing assortment of bowl games (per usual), where after several weeks of rest, teams really didn’t have a lot to play for.  The four team playoff structure will likely still be critiqued (as it should), but it will at least add some component of legitimacy to the idea crowning a National Champion. 
And that puts a rather dissatisfying end to the 2012 college football season.  The Crimson Tide roll and end up as the #1 ranked team in the country (dynasty, anyone?) as the Irish drop to #4 in the AP.
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