Last Monday, the college football season ended with a statement. That statement was made by Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide as they simply destroyed their previously undefeated opponents. Alabama broke the Notre Dame Fighting Irish down in every facet of the game and the game was over just seconds into the second quarter.
Alabama has now won three of the last four National Championships. In an era where the "cool kids" are running spread offenses and playing around with the read option, the Tide just lines up and puts their best players against yours and wins with a more traditional style of football. The Tide hasn't quite created a dynasty inside the SEC (winning two of the last four SEC titles) but they have created a National dynasty. So where does Nick Saban go from here?
After winning three of four National titles, the road to the National Title looks to get tougher with the addition of a four team playoff. What the four team playoff will do is eliminate teams that don't belong before the National Championship Game. For Alabama, they will continue to reload no matter their losses. This past season they had four first round draft picks but they just reloaded. They lost workhorse Trent Richardson to the NFL and Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon stepped up in his place. Because of the success Alabama has had under Saban, he can walk into just about any living room in Amercia and hand pick the players he wants for his system. Saban has created a machine that will keep running smoothly until he's no longer the captain.
Notre Dame made the National Championship Game because they did what they were supposed to do to play in the game, they beat every team put in front of them. Did they play a stinker of a game or were they simply not as good as their record? The Irish and it's fans have to be scratching their heads. They came into the season thinking their ceiling was around 10-3 and left with just one loss but feeling bummed out. When I looked at the Irish's schedule at the beginning of the season it looked really tough but in the end it ended up not being as challenging as it originally looked (Michigan St, Miami and USC had down years and they caught Stanford before their QB switch) and it helped the Irish go undefeated. Even if the schedule was easier than it was supposed to be and even if they caught a break or two, going undefeated in college football is still a remarkable accomplishment and Brian Kelly has this team ahead of schedule.
This was only Kelly's third season at the helm of the Irish so that's just two full recruiting classes (and one he inherited in December of 2009 and saw to completion) of players that fit his scheme and what he wants to do. Going undefeated in just his third regular season is a huge accomplishment. The fear now is that, as of this article, Kelly is showing a lot of interest in the NFL and it's not just a passing interest. If Kelly stays at Notre Dame, he can rebuild them into a consistent winner and a consistent player in the upper tier of college football. If he leaves, it could be a major blow to the school.
With this win for Alabama, it gives the SEC seven straight BCS National Championships. Every non-SEC school and non-SEC fan already had a big anti-SEC backlash coming into this game and after Alabama's destruction of their opponent I think we will only see more negativity towards the conference. Despite the backlash, I also think that by winning in such a dominant fashion it will be very hard to keep two SEC teams out of the four team playoff next season so the road to the eighth straight National Title might be just a little bit easier next season for the SEC but it might be a bit tougher for the Tide.
Get more college football analysis over at College Football Zealots.
As recruiting season steams towards its peak levels of insufferableness with weekend visits and subsequent reports on those weekend visits, a good number of people out there, even though it is 2013, still struggle over whether or not they should contact one of these 17 or 18-year old high schoolers, offering them a word of encouragement to attend a particular school. To help clear up any remaining confusion on this subject, I've piled together this list of frequently asked questions, with answers, that should help you if doubt begins to creep in your mind.
I really want [17/18-year old high schooler] to play football for my school. Should I post on his Facebook wall or tweet at him?
Are you a grown-ass person who is not related to him by blood, not one of his high school coaches, and not one of his teachers?
Yes, I am an adult who is not one of those people.
Then there are no circumstances on God's green earth why you should do either of those things. Besides, Facebook is only supposed to be used for posting pictures of your children or commenting on a piece of news that's two weeks old. And Twitter is for spreading GIFs of small woodland animals trying to open doors.
What about calling or texting him?
Well, we've established you're not someone of any importance to him, so this is also gonna be a no. But, if you are an employed coach at a school recruiting him, that is actually allowed under NCAA rules.
How do I know if I'm an employed coach at a school recruiting him?
Do you have a job?
Does your paycheck or direct deposit contain the words "University" or "State"?
Unfortunately, you are not an employed coach at a university.
Man, that stinks.
Yeah, I know it's tough to hear, but you needed to.
But I think I might be pretty good at recruiting. I mean, my school is pretty awesome.
You very well could be. Do you enjoy grueling hours in a job that literally never stops, getting very little sleep, living out of airports, hotels, and/or rental cars, eating a steady diet of crap, making thousands of phone calls, sending thousands of texts, bending over backwards for teenagers and their families, being lied to by teenagers and their families, and people saying horrible things about you when you don't land a certain recruit?
That doesn't sound so fun.
You are correct. It takes a special breed to voluntarily do all of those things.
What if I just made a YouTube tribute video of his high school highlights set to music?
Despite its exceptional creepiness, that you can do. Just remember to use a different YouTube user name. You don't want to lose your street cred in the YouTube commenters community.
If you missed those, click one of those links so I don't have to explain this again. What's that? FINE. I too know the pain of 20 seconds of mild inconvenience, so I'll just type all of this AGAIN.
Each bowl performance is rated on a scale of one to five Steven Seagal Songs from the Crystal Cave because everything must be measured against perfection.
Texas A&M 41, Oklahoma 13
I care nothing for Texas A&M, but watching Johnny Manziel play was one of my favorite parts of this college football season. If I were an A&M fan, I'd like to think my enjoyment of watching him would be exponentially higher.
More than likely though, I'd be so worried that he's about to take a hit that puts him out of the game and sends our season straight into the crapper, that I'd have a very difficult time enjoying the moment because I'd feel like I was about to throw up whenever he takes off on one of his scrambles that crushes the soul of a defense. I'd only truly enjoy it once I saw we were up three touchdowns and they kept showing shots of the defensive coordinator in a 1,000-yard stare at nothing and/or opposing fans face down in the aisle in a pool of their own tears.
Ole Miss 38, Pittsburgh 17
My tickets to the Compass Bowl were sent to the wrong address, so after talking with the Ole Miss ticket office, I was told the tickets would be at the players' family gate. I get to the gate, an usher or someone who might have worked for the stadium waves me through and in to the stadium with no ticket in hand.
At this point, no one asks to see a ticket or points me in any direction. I'm just standing there with no ticket and now in the stadium. Credit to Ole Miss, as my tickets were at a table, but I never handed a ticket to anyone employed by the stadium or Compass Bowl.
Everyone should go, and could go free of charge, to a Compass Bowl.
Alabama 42, Notre Dame 14
Turns out, dramatic, come-from-behind, overtime wins against Pittsburgh just don't carry as much weight as they once did. I don't know how many SEC teams could have beaten Notre Dame, but I think that number would be significantly smaller if they'd just go ahead and hire Trooper Taylor. NEED FOR SPEED, DAWG.
/golden towel wave
Though we don't want to let the college football season go, we have to because without an extended break, our bodies and minds would eventually collapse into nothing useful as a result of what our teams do to them. Unfortunately, that extended break is so long and options are so few.
I plan to spend the next few weeks like I spend every January and early February, which is trying to avoiding recruiting business before ultimately getting sucked in and hating everything.
GOOD RELAXING TIMES.
Which reminds me, I wrote this 25-step prediction of how the whole Robert Nkemdiche recruitment was going to play out. So far, the only events I accurately predicted were that summer would occur and Ole Miss would lose to Vanderbilt, even labeling it as "probably the only certainty on this list." However, I'm still holding out hope that Houston Nutt takes over at Idaho, fulfilling #25 on that list.
So, goodbye for now, surfer-bank-robber friend, who, even though he nearly killed us at times, showed us a pretty good time over the last few months. Watching this about 2,000 times will help make this goodbye go a little easier: