Traverse City Record-Eagle

January 8, 2013

Mike Eckert: BCS game virtually over 3 minutes in

BY MIKE ECKERT, Sports writer

---- — The BCS championship game kicked off at 8:30 p.m. on Monday.

It essentially ended 2 minutes, 57 seconds later, when Alabama drove the field against Notre Dame, scored its first of many touchdowns and never looked back.

That's three of the last four BCS titles for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. That's seven straight for the Southeastern Conference.

That's total dominance, just like Alabama's 42-14 win over the Irish. The Tide never turned. It just rolled, and rolled, and rolled some more.

This can't go on forever, can it?

Surely, some day, some team from outside of the SEC will upend the league's rule in the BCS championship game and bring balance back to the college football world.

But not this day.

And not any day in the near future, as long as Saban is still marching the sidelines at Alabama.

Credit this program for the run it's currently having. Alabama's lost 10 first-round draft picks to the NFL over the last three years and more are surely to go in April. Yet the cupboard is never bare. All-Americans are replaced by All-Americans. And for the third time in four years, the season ends with absolutely no doubt that the Crimson Tide are the best team in the country.

What Saban has done at Alabama is impressive. If he never coaches another game in Tuscaloosa, his legacy is already cemented as one of the all-time greats.

The most impressive thing about Saban isn't the recruits he brings in or the way he motivates his players. It's what he — and his staff can do with time to prepare. Whether it's the first game of the season after a long training camp, or a bowl game with weeks of preparation, Saban's teams have absolutely dominated when he's given extra time to work his magic.

Ask Michigan State in the 2011 Capital One Bowl. Ask LSU after last year's title game. Ask Michigan at the start of this season. Ask Notre Dame after Monday's BCS game.

Saban's preparation makes his team look like world-beaters while taking his opponent completely out of their game. Monday looked like a scrimmage between a JV and a varsity, not a matchup of the top two teams in the country.

At this point, it looks like the only way Saban is getting unseated as king of the mountain is when he eventually decides to step down from it. His Crimson dynasty will reign for as long as he wants it.

For Notre Dame, its first appearance in the BCS championship game will be a tough pill to swallow for some time to come. But, the good from this season far outweighs the bad.

In a year which began with some pundits debating if the Irish are relevant anymore, they proved that they most certainly are — just not against Alabama.

Notre Dame will build off of this and I doubt this is the last we see of them in the mix for a national championship.

I also doubt it's the last we've seen of Saban hoisting that glass football. Unless the challenge and money of the NFL can pull him away, expect the Crimson Tide to keep doing this for years to come.

It can't go on forever, can it?