Mitchell: Yes, Virginia, Alabama is a Dynasty
Posted Jan 8, 2013

Nick Saban has now won 27 percent of all the BCS trophies ever handed out, including three of the last four in Tuscaloosa. Moreover, the Capstone is an odds on favorite to make it three in a row next season. Yes, Virginia, Alabama is a dynasty.

By Russ Mitchell
Follow me @russmitchellcfb

MIAMI GARDENS, Florida -- 13:02 to go in the second quarter. If you called the time of death for the 2013 BCS title game then, we'd be hard pressed to find any fault with your decision.

Just 17 minutes into the game and the Irish already found itself trailing 21-0. Not just trailing...thoroughly squashed. Like some fruit you give your three year old, forget about, and find later tucked into a sofa.

Facing fourth down and five long yards on the Alabama 39, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly decided to go for it.

"It was clear in my mind that we needed to control the football at that point (regardless the risk)," said Kelly.

He was right.

It was less panic button and more clear-headed thinking, though still likely a painful decision for the second year coach. Notre Dame had crossed into Bama territory for the first time that night. It had more than doubled its 23 total yards for the first quarter off one nice 31 yard completion from quarterback Everett Golson to DaVaris Daniels. Moreover, the Domers' defense was missing tackle after tackle, despite being in the right scheme and place on the field.

It was clear to everyone in Sun Life Stadium that Bama was on its way to a rout. So Kelly pulled the trigger on fourth down...

And his team shot a blank.

Not that it really mattered. Notre Dame was grossly overmatched from the game's second play right up until the final whistle. Most disappointing was the play of the much ballyhooed Irish defense, which struggled all night to get off the field.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban said as much after the game. When asked for his biggest surprise of the night, Saban said it was his team's dominant trench play.

"(We) did a really good job of blocking the edges," said Saban, "And the backs did a good job of executing."

All-American Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o agreed. "We battled. They just do what Alabama does."

"So many missed tackles..." Kelly lamented while Alabama celebrated on the field. "That will require a little bit of research. But put most of it on a really good back in (Eddie) Lacy; I was really impressed with him today."

Lacy finished with 140 yards on 20 carries (7 ypc) and a touchdown, to go with two receptions for 17 yards plus another touchdown.

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron had an even better performance Monday than in last year's title game. He was handed more responsibility from the very start of this game and he delivered as a leader and an athlete, putting his team in the right position and passing with pinpoint accuracy. Most of his throws landed where they would either be caught by an Alabama receiver or fall harmlessly out of bounds. More often than not, they were caught.

There can now be no doubt - Alabama is clearly playing better than any team in college football, and doing so consistently year after year. When Notre Dame finally scored with 4:08 to play in the third quarter, long after the game's final outcome was decided, it broke a stretch of 108 straight minutes of scoreless play in BCS Championships for Bama, going back to 6:15 remaining in the 2010 BCS title game against Texas.

Only moments after the game, Saban was questioned why he didn't look happier after winning his third title in four years.

"Whether I look like it or not, I'm happy as hell," he said.

One of these days when Saban's "sitting on the side of the hill watching the stream go by", maybe he really will pause to reflect on what he's accomplished.

But not this year. 24 hours and it's back to work Wednesday. There's another team to train. Another group of young men to sculpt...

Sculpt into champions.

Russ Mitchell is the lead SEC Columnist for CFN. Follow him @russmitchellcfb

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