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Five things we learned: Alabama 42, Notre Dame 14

Jan 8, 2013, 2:26 AM EST

Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v Alabama Getty Images

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — There will be a silver lining in all of this. But for now, Notre Dame’s disappointing performance in their 42-14 loss to Alabama outweighs everything.

“It definitely sucks, to be quite honest,” Manti Te’o said after the game, seated next to his head coach and teammates for a final time as a member of the Fighting Irish. “But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I wouldn’t trade this team for anything. I wouldn’t do anything differently.”

The journey that took this football team from a demoralizing defeat against Florida State last December to the national championship will be one that’s looked at fondly when the dust settles after this disappointing, one-sided defeat. But tonight, it’s a very hard pill to swallow for players and fans alike, with Alabama outclassing the Irish early and often, soundly beating a Notre Dame team that most thought could hang as a heavyweight.

But done in by a uncharacteristically sloppy first quarter and an incredibly thorough Alabama offensive performance, the dream season was just not meant to be.

“Alabama was the better team today,” Kelly said after the game. “They ran the football well. Our strength all year has been playing physical and tackling and we did not tackle well together. They were the better football team and they deserved to win.”

As the maintenance staff cleans up crimson and white confetti from the prestine grass of Sun Life Stadium, let’s take a look at the five things we learned during Alabama’s 42-14 victory in the BCS National Championship game.

***

1. Alabama won the football game because they won the line of scrimmage.

It didn’t take long to understand that the Notre Dame defense was in for a long night against the Crimson Tide. Alabama marched decisively down the field to start the game, going 82 yards in just five plays and 2:57. For the first time, the Irish gave up seven points on an opening drive, and things were only going to get worse from there.

After not allowing a single touchdown drive longer than 75 yards, Alabama put together six scoring drives of 70 or more yards on the evening. The Tide were able to chew up massive yardage against an Irish defense that had been stout all season, effectively ending the game by halftime thanks to a dominant first half that including touchdowns the first three times Alabama touched the football.

We knew it’d be strength versus strength when Alabama’s offensive line battled Notre Dame’s front seven. But nobody saw the Crimson Tide offensive line being such decisive winners.

“I think everybody knows about Alabama’s offensive line,” Te’o said after the game. “They’re very big and they’re very athletic and very strong. You know, we battled. We battled. They just did what Alabama does.”

For the Tide, leaning on their running game and impressive offensive line opened up the passing game as well. And with the media spending much of the last month trying to quantify just how good this Alabama front five was, Nick Saban’s evaluation of the unit might have been the most flattering commentary.

“I think this may be the best offensive line, and I don’t like to make comparisons, that we’ve ever had or been associated with,” Saban said.

That was clear Monday night, when the Alabama offensive front dominated the Irish front seven.

***

2. It may not have mattered in the end, but the Irish doomed themselves with an uncharacteristically slow start.

Notre Dame spent six weeks preparing for a one-game season. And while the coaches and players felt good about their preparation and outlook heading into the game, the Irish laid an early egg, never able to recover from a disastrous start.

“Coach Kelly told us before the game that there are eight minutes that are very important in the game,” Te’o said. “The first two minutes of the game, the last two minutes in the second quarter, the first two minutes of the third quarter and the last two minutes of the game.

“Obviously, the first two minutes of the game didn’t pan out the way we thought it would go.”

That might have been an understatement.

The first two minutes featured AJ McCarron hitting Kevin Norwood for a 29 yard strike, the first of many passes that attacked the edges of the Irish’s zone coverage. They included a personal foul on Dan Fox and an offsides penalty on Louis Nix. That all but marched the Tide into the Irish redzone, where they scored cashed in their first of six touchdowns.

The final two minutes of the half were no kinder to the Irish. With Alabama already up 21-0 and looking to put the game away, McCarron led the Tide down the field again, executing a two-minute drill to perfection as he found Christon Jones for 27 yards on 3rd and 6. From there, Eddie Lacy did the rest, dancing in for an 11 yard touchdown catch, ulling away in the half’s final minute.

Add in three tough breaks for the Irish on suspect calls by the Pac-12 officiating crew, and Notre Dame all but shut down a crowd that was almost a two-thirds majority for the Domers.

***

3. For 40 days, Notre Dame worked on getting good enough to play with Alabama. For 40 days, Alabama built a game plan to defeat Notre Dame.

When Brian Kelly set out to plan Notre Dame’s 42 day layoff, he focused on building his team into a unit that could go toe-to-toe with the nation’s most impressive program. That meant a focus on strength and conditioning to go along with the fundamentals and a commitment to improving young quarterback Everett Golson from the ground up.

In the end, it wasn’t enough, as the Irish couldn’t match the physicality that Alabama possessed. But the Irish were also done in by a masterful game plan designed by Nick Saban, and his two coordinators Doug Nussmeier and Kirby Smart.

It’s no surprise that Alabama limited the Irish’s ability to run the football. Falling behind early, there weren’t too many opportunities to run the football, but the Irish only netted 32 yards on 19 carries, a meager 1.7 yards a tote.

But the biggest surprise of the evening was the Tide’s excellent offensive game plan, showing incredible balance by running for 265 yards and throwing for 264. With Alabama consistently beating the Irish on the edges of their defense, Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon had great success getting around the corner, stretching the Irish defense out before attacking them in the north-south run game.

Just as impressive was AJ McCarron’s evening, as he consistently attacked the deep corners of the Irish zone coverage, exploiting the holes that emerged in Bob Diaco’s young secondary.

“I watched a lot of film on these guys and they play a lot of zone defense,” freshman wide receiver Amari Cooper said. “Both touchdowns came from big holes in their zone defense.”

Giving Nick Saban six weeks to game plan usually spells trouble for the opposition. And while the Irish had to spend the layoff working on getting better, Alabama worked on scheme. Along with their physical talents, it was just too much to overcome.

4. While it wasn’t Manti Te’o’s best game in a Notre Dame uniform, the senior’s legacy will remain intact.

After missing only two open field tackles all season for the Irish, Te’o missed more than that in the first half alone. Needing a perfect game from the team’s star linebacker, Te’o struggled making plays against Lacey and Yeldon, getting caught up in the wash created by Alabama’s monstrous offensive line.

And after a postseason awards haul crowned Te’o one of college football’s finest ever, it seemed popular to try tearing Te’o down after he had been propped up for the past month. Part of that is the nature of the beast, playing football in a world of Twitter and a tidal wave of social media and opinions. Part of that is fair game, the byproduct of a subpar game for Notre Dame’s best player, who made many uncharacteristic mistakes as the defense struggled to contain Alabama.

But any worries that Te’o may have hurt his legacy — or his draft stock — are probably overblown. With four seasons of game film and off-the-charts character and leadership, some team is going to take a gamble on Te’o in the first round of the NFL Draft.

While the end of Te’o’s career came in a way many never saw possible, the senior had no regrets after his final game in a Notre Dame uniform.

“We wish the night could have ended in a different way, but the season, the year, my career here, I’ve been truly blessed to be at Notre Dame,” Te’o said. “I’ll forever be proud to say I’m a Notre Dame Fighting Irish and I’m proud of my team.”

Te’o wasn’t the only player to miss tackles, a plague on the Irish that was a combination of really impressive work by Eddie Lacey and the long layoff. But it was surprising to see from a player that played near perfect football all season.

***

5. Monday night’s results proved the Irish weren’t the best team in the country. But there’s plenty to be proud of after a tremendous season.

With the SEC’s dominance still intact and Alabama out-classing Notre Dame throughout the evening, it was clear that the best team in the country didn’t enter the game ranked No. 1. But that doesn’t take away anything from Notre Dame’s 12-1 campaign. The Irish may not be the best team in the country, but they’re not all that far away.

“We’re close. Obviously we’re not there,” Te’o said. “If we were there, we’d be holding the crystal ball. But we’re close.”

With disappointment showing through his voice, Kelly talked about the gap between his program and the one that just completed their third championship in the last four years.

“I measure success as a head coach with consistency. And some people use the word dynasty. I look at it as program consistency,” Kelly said of Nick Saban’s Alabama program. “It starts at the top and filters its way through the entire program. And what Coach Saban has been able to do has really put an exclamation point on consistently putting elite programs and football teams together at the University of Alabama.”

For those worried that it might be another 24 years until the Irish find themselves in this position again, fear not. Watching Everett Golson throw for 270 yards against the Tide was a promising step in his development. Watching TJ Jones catch seven balls and battle tough coverage gives you hope for next season. And DaVaris Daniels held his own with Alabama’s star freshman receiver, coming back from his collarbone injury to catch six passes for 115 yards.

Sure, the Irish will need to replace Manti Te’o, a hole that’ll be tough to fill both on and off the field. And with Tyler Eifert likely announcing his intention to head to the NFL and graduate, the passing attack will need to find a new leading man. But the future is bright in South Bend.

Even if it doesn’t feel that way tonight.

 

179 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. mungman69 - Jan 8, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    That punt didn’t matter. Bama is just too good.

  2. ndgoldandblue - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    To use a metaphorical comparison (and to try to lighten things up), watching your favorite team get blown out in a championship game is a lot like getting unexpectedly dumped in a high school relationship. It’s high school, so you know it isn’t going anywhere. Therefore, you shouldn’t invest too much into it, but you do anyway. And it hurts like hell when you get dumped out of the blue.

    Same thing here. Seeing the Irish lose to Bama isn’t on the same plane as a divorce, death of a loved one, or seeing a family member suffer through a chronic illness. It still hurts like hell, though.

  3. ndfanor - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    Things first…This Notre Dame fan wants to sincerely congratulate the Alabama Crimson Tide and their coach Nick Saban. You were the far superior team and coach last night. While Notre Dame worked hard, learning how to get to the National Title game, you and your team gave ND a lesson on what more is needed to win that game. Second…a sincere congratulations to coach Brain Kelly and the Fighting Irish!! You started this season ranked somewhere below 20, if memory serves me correctly, and fought your way to the number one spot. So to quell any questions of whether you belonged in the National Title game, Yes, because you earned it!! You went 12-0, while no one else did. I’m proud you guys!! Thank you for a great season. Now for us Irish fans, time to get over the disappointment. I will have to face my coworkers, friends, etc, and hear it how bad the Irish are, that they didn’t belong, etc, (I even own a staff sergent in my National Guard unit a coffee. Didn’t bet on what kind, so he’s getting an Irish coffee.) I’ve been a Notre Dame fan since 1988. And in that time I have seen the highs and lows, Not the biggest loss in a bowl game, for national title perhaps, forgetting Oregon St blasted ND in the Fiesta bowl 41-9, biggest disappointment, how about Boston College last minute field goal to ruin the 1993 title run. Having to settle for number two in the nation while knowing we beat the number one team (FSU) in the nation that same year. BK is doing a great job at Notre Dame. National title game in 3 years time, he know what it takes to get to the title game, now he nows what it will take to win one. And if you don’t think Alabama is going to playing for a national title next year, just look at their schedule. They open with Virgina Tech 7-6, playing only two meaningful teams in Texas A&M and LUS, other non-confernce games included Colo ST, Georiga St (1-10), and Chattanooga, other 6 SEC games are teams that this year had a combined SEC conf record of 10-38. In closing, thank you once again for a great season. Looking forward to seeing the Irish next year, until then…..GO IRISH!!!

  4. runners00 - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    This wasa magical season in many ways. Hearing Brent and Kirk both talk about how we took it to Michigan State in Eat Lansing was wonderful. Watching ND dominate Oklahoma was great, too. There are so many amazing points in the season. But last night was a step backward. Alabama was fabulous. They block and tackle and run very well. They do everything well.

    That said, we played like crap. We did not block. We did not tackle. And we were trounced. Yes they have better players. But they weren’t so great that they prevented us from tackling low. They weren’t so great that they prevented our corners from covering their young receivers. We played horribly. And they played the way they did all year. And that’s why we were smoked.

  5. nddan1 - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    notre dame saw first hand a bama team that had all cylinders clicking.the gut wrenching fact for me is that they could have been missing on a few cylinders and still have beaten us…i.e. the non catch (eifert), the blown punt call. alabama ran around us, through us and over us. they basically did what they wanted to. with that said, if you go through a season without losing a game, zip, zero, nada, you deserve to be respected, even if you dont play your best game in your final one, or if you find out by playing your final game that you’ve got a long way to go to become as good as the team that beat you down. well, this fan has a long way to go in following the fightin irish! and they just gave me a solid year of enjoyment, for which i am gratefull. i also feel they are going to get better. i look forward to next season and the new kids who reach for great things

  6. 410keith - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    Too all of you dumbass Yankees that want to rip on the south because your team sucks: fuck off little bitches!!! I bet I could whoop all of you like bama did notre dame!! Roll tide ass bitches!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • 1notredamefan - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:27 PM

      Bet

    • jimpy49 - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:32 PM

      Stay classy 410keith. Yes, your team was better, but ours is classier and smarter (remember, it’s college. Capitalize the ‘K” in Keith next time). You sound bitter because you lost the Civil War because YOUR ARMY SUCKED. Redneck….

      GO IRISH!!!

    • ndgoldandblue - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:33 PM

      Notre Dame finished the season with 1 loss, the same as Alabama. No one is resorting to insults of the the south because “our team sucks” as you say. We have one loss in a season where we played zero FCS teams or mid-major conference teams. Alabama can’t say that. In fact, Bama has plenty of cupcakes on next year’s schedule as well.

      As for your claim that you could whoop us, those are tough words from a man hiding behind a keyboard. By the way, watch your mouth. Vulgarity may fly on the message boards you frequent, but not here.

    • 1historian - Jan 9, 2013 at 7:29 AM

      What did you say to the students from Notre Dame who used their fall break in 2011 to come to Tuscaloosa to help clean up from the tornado?

      Just wondering

    • fw190wuerger - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:57 PM

      LOL, what a funny little troll.

      Does mommy and daddy know what you typed on their computer?

      I suspect 410keith is still despondent over James Wilson’s totally trouncing the entire state of Alabama and its University. How many fortified cities did he take? IIRC, five! And Forrest was completely ineffectual.

      Wilson’s Raid (or romp) through Alabama makes the football game the other night look like a close game, a real nail biter.

      Alabama produced one of the classiest and most successful players in all of professional football history — Bart Starr (e.g., 5 NFL Championships, and the second highest passer rating of all time). Maybe 410keith could take a moment from his trolling to read about how a real Alabama man conducts himself in public!

  7. jack157 - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    When this season started I hoped against hope that the Irish could at least finish 6-5 when I saw the schedule, that way they’d have three consecutive winning seasons. With the cumulative effect of Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Stanford, USC, Miami, even BYU on the slate, I thought it would be real tough.

    But they kept finding a way to win and got to 12. They’re definitely on their way back. I knew they weren’t all the way back and quite frankly, figured they didn’t have much of a chance against Alabama. After all, the Tide is a pro team, according to Spurrier. But the Irish and Tide will meet again, giving Notre Dame a chance to increase their series lead to 6 – 3.

    On a different thought, given they were such a long shot this year, should they have thrown in a whole new winkle in the offense to throw the defense offguard? Was real impressed with the Wisconsin speed sweep that was so effective against Nebraska and almost beat Stanford.

    Have Atkinson do a sweep action every play as another option, almost like a quadruple option. Golson either gives it to him, hands off to Wood, keeps it himself or throws a quick pass. Maybe would have spread out the defense more and allowed them to possess the ball more. Allowed Golson to improvise a bit.

  8. padomer - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    @ 410keith….you could woop all of us?!! I’m terrified you might use caps lock, use a few swear words n a buncha exclamation points! Please spare us yankees! all hail the toughest typer in the land. Lol gotta love Internet tough guy…
    Dude u on the wrong website go YouTube some chuck Liddell or better yet get a job.

    Make no m

  9. padomer - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    Woops…

    Make no mistake about it bama was and is the better team…that said, the following is on a more maturity/class/cognitive development level. “If” we won last night (which we clearly got smoked) but if we did win, would neone of ya infiltrate a bama message board mocking the deaths of 20 yr old kids (dispicable in live blog portion, comments about the score and Declan Sullivan), carry on as if your team was 30 point underdogs, or challenge ppl to a keyboard fight?! Would anyone even post in an opposing teams blog? I don’t even know what website Alabama followers “read.” Point is, I feel bad for you who’ve done the aforementioned things as 18-22 year olds winning a football game is the most important thing to ever happen to you.

    I’m a proud notre dame diehard but know where to draw the line. Guess that’s the difference tween Yankees n dicksie

    • ndirish10 - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:46 PM

      What about the 23-25 (maybe) that are on that same winning team? Some have “greyshirted.”

  10. ndfaithful - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    Keith – Great job this year and great writing and insight. It’s been a fun regular season and bowl season to follow your articles.

  11. ajw21 - Jan 8, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    papadec: I am glad he is recovering and hope all goes well. I am a diehard ND fan but its a game played by boys becoming men. If its the most important thing in your life then look at yourself in the mirror! What doesnt kill you, make you stronger. Also if you feel bad, think how the players feel, worse then you, I promise you that.
    GO IRISH!

    • papadec - Jan 9, 2013 at 8:37 PM

      ajw – Thank you.

  12. North of Denver - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    Just back from Miami…

    A few comments:
    1) Most everyone needs to breathe into a paper sack for a minute and calm down.
    2) Notre Dame had the crowd. My guess is that it was 65% Irish fans in that stadium.
    3) I thought the game was over when the refs called the unbelievable Interference call on the punt.
    4) I really thought the game was over when the refs called Eifert out of bounds. Its hard enough to beat Alabama and the refs.
    5) I knew the game was over when Danny Spond got stiff-armed and thrown to the ground like a Cabbage Patch Kid.
    6) By that time, any advantage ND had with the crowd was gone.
    7) We still have a great team that went 12-1. Unbelievable. Achieved beyond anybody’s expectations.
    8) All this talk about an SEC dynasty is making me sick. It cannot last forever. Alabama recruited a freak class. The city of Tuscaloosa doesn’t have the secret sauce that allows it to continue to recruit Andre the Giant’s progeny. Same with Athens, Knoxville, Fayetteville… After being on South Beach, I have no idea why Miami doesn’t have a persistent dynasty.
    9) Paper bag, please.

  13. mungman69 - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:04 AM

    Let’s face it. That game hurt. No reason to put anyone down, though.

    Next year will be VERY interesting.

  14. mungman69 - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:48 AM

    If Ohio St. was allowed to play the GAME would have pitted Ohio St. vs. Notre Dame. Alabama wouldn’t even have been at the GAME. Playoffs anyone?

  15. joewilliesshnoz - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    The poor Irish, they can’t face the fact that they stunk – out the joint.

  16. 11thstreetmafia - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    I was disappointed with the game but still a proud Notre Dame fan. Alabama trounced my squad. What a team! Quit arguing back and forth about if this team this, that team did/did not deserve that. Blah blah blah. College football is great. Leave it at that. I can’t wait for next season

  17. nd42fn - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    I was listening to XM radio yesterday and agree with coach Huston Nutt. Coach Kelly said getting beat like that made his job easier by that I think/hope he means he can go to the A.D. and boosters and say hey this is what we need to win. Bama is the yard stick right now and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to steal a few ideas from them.

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:02 AM

      I don’t disagree with your point, but I wonder what the A.D. and boosters can give us that we don’t have when compared to Alabama. The only thing that i can think of is Juco players.

      • mikemcmack - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:20 AM

        Lower admission standards and academic requirements would be another. But that’s not happening anytime soon…and the way recruiting has been going, we don’t need them.

      • nd42fn - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:24 PM

        what nutt was talking about was paying more attention to nutrition and conditioning

    • 1historian - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      We’ll be just fine. This team got to the big game a year early and ran into a team that had been there before, was clearly superior and was determined to show that to the rest of the world.

      Which they did.

      There are to me 2 good things that we can take from this – Our guys didn’t give up until the final whistle blew and they now know what it is going to take.

      • mikemcmack - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:41 PM

        Right.
        I would add a third good thing: the score of the SECOND half was 14 to 14, with Saban not pulling his heaviest hitters until the last 90 seconds, in an attempt to further impress recruits and snuff out the Irish fire for years to come.
        Proof enough that the Irish toughed it out until the end. They showed enormous character and class. If they hadn’t, it would have been 72-0.
        And know this, doubters(as I mentioned in an earlier post): in the 1972 Orange Bowl, UND took a REAL ass-kicking, against Nebraska(the Alabama of the era). 40 to 6 it was!
        And what did the Irish do just one year later, in the 1973 Sugar Bowl? And against whom? And what did they win?
        “For those who know Notre Dame, no explanation is necessary.”
        Sorry, Nickels. The Irish are going away only until next September.
        See y’all in Pasadena.

        GO IRISH!!!

  18. montjamz - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    Lou Holtz “they coulda played 20 games and they woulda lost all 20 to Alabama.”

  19. irish4me - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    We lost to a very good football team. Alabama deserved it and took it period. However does anyone really believe our defense showed up? Manti Teo missed like what 5 tackles ? At one point we dropped 9 (NINE!!!) into pass coverage for 4 receivers and they were WIDE open. This is not how they played all season, after the 6 week layoff it was like the ghost of Charlie Weiss infiltrated the defensive side of the team. Coach Diaco was completely lost in the booth, we never once ran safety blitz package like we had successfully done all season. Its mind blowing, how everything was just forgotten. I thought the game was lost when in the first series we didn’t attempt to run, I felt like Kelly has given in to the hype. ALL of this wasn’t due to the greatness of the Alabama football team, a lot of it was us shooting ourselves in the foot. I watched the Georgia – Michigan bowl game that was won LITERALLY on a last second 30 yard pass play by Georgia. This is the same Georgia that BARELY lost to Alabama in the SEC championship game. You see where I’m going here? We beat Michigan, Georgia barely lost to Alabama and barely beat Michigan, we should’ve had a close game – we got smoked. I’m at a loss to figure this out. I’m NOT saying that Alabama isn’t the better squad, but ND was dominated. It’s just a bit baffling to me. With that said, congrats to the IRISH team and the coaches for a great season, I surely didn’t expect to be in the Title game and it was an incredibly exciting and successful season. Been a fan since I was knee-high to a grass-hopper as my Mom used to say and I’ll always be singing their praises. Long live ND Irish Football.

    • fish95 - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:30 PM

      My TV showed Michigan playing South Carolina in the Outback bowl, not Georgia (I saw them beat Nebraska by 14) … people often accuse me of living in an alternate universe … I’m beginning to suspect it’s true …

      • irish4me - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:54 PM

        Fish95: I stand corrected it was South Carolina. Yes the SAME Gamecocks who beat Georgia 35 – 7, my point remains the same, many SEC lost like Florida (3) to Louisvile (21) for crying-out-loud, and UNRANKED Nebraska gave Georgia all it could hamdle, they were tied with 8 mins or so left in the game, my point being: our boys were woefully unprepared., wouldn’t you agree?

  20. 1historian - Jan 9, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    Mikemcmack – Don’t forget this one – In the 1988 Cotton Bowl ND got whipped by Texas A&M and things turned out pretty well the next year.

  21. irishclassof17 - Jan 9, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    This game was obviously painful to watch, but for optimisms sake, I will say a few things. I agree with the ppl who said the talent gap isn’t TOO wide. ND has a solid roster, just not quite big enough across the board and not nearly as much depth as Bama. Coaching wise, Saban is the best, and if you give him 5 weeks to prepare his team, he will do well. ND deserved to be a top 5 team this year, def top 10, and would have been solid in the sec. I dont think you could name one team in the country that would have put up a real fight against bama in the NC game, as long as saban has that much time to prepare.

    • irishdrg1 - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:50 PM

      He didn’t prepare so well against Utah!

      • irishclassof17 - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:49 PM

        lol true. my point being that at a certain point, if he has good enough personnel (like a massive o-line and dominant defense, not to mention 2 great coordinators) he will make his team tough to stop

  22. papadec - Jan 9, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    In 1965 my brother went to ND, and I went to the Marine Corps. He was in the Glee Club and they performed at Auburn U in either 1968 or 1969. I drove to the concert, met some guys from SAE Fraternity and partied with them after the concert. Had one helluva good time! I can’t base my opinion of Alabama natives on the trolls that showed up here, the last few weeks. Those guys @ SAE were great hosts to a NY “Yankee”!

  23. nchdomer - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:24 AM

    Contrary to the impression left by some of the posters, the Alabama fans that I have met have always been gracious, respectful, knowledgeable, fun loving and enjoyable college football fans. Many have told me of their desire to go to ND to experience a game there. One fan I met at an Alabama game this year in Tuscaloosa said he was planning a trip to ND even if he could not get tickets – just to see the campus. A good example of their fan base can be seen in the open letter of an Alabama fan to Irish Sports Report telling the ND fans to keep their heads up. Very classy fans.

    As to the game, the better team won and deserved to win. However, ND is not as far away from winning the title as the commentators were saying after the game. Blowout losses are not indicative of the true level of competiveness between teams. In ’74 ND lost to USC 55-24 and the negative comments spoken after this year’s BCS loss could easily have been said about that team. But a month later that same team beat No. 1 Alabama 13-11. Similarly, ND lost 40-6 to Nebraska on January 1, 1973 but won the National Championship on December 31, 1973 with its 24-23 win over Alabama. Tom Osborne apparantly said to Saban after Nebraska crushed MSU in a bowl game that the MSU team was not as far away as Saban was thinking at that moment. The same can be said for ND.

    Two more comments. First, our QB is terrific. The moment was not too big for him and I believe the offense will be the difference next year. Second, those who don’t appreciate Mark May must not have seen his gracious comments after the game. They truly appeared to be heartfelt. He and the Alabama grad, Rece Davis, were very kind to ND in their comments. And their perspective was far superior to the snickering, immature views expressed by the Palmers and Herbstreits of this world.

    ND will always be No. 1 in my heart. Well done, gentlemen. Go Irish!

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