NCAA Football Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Irish No Match For Tide

Manti Te'o Notre Dame vs Alabama

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

No contest.

Alabama crushed Notre Dame by 28 points in a game that wasn’t as close as the 42-14 final score.

It was the Crimson Tide’s second straight national championship and the SEC’s seventh straight.

Meanwhile Fighting Irish’s run at a perfect season and first national title since 1988 was ruined as Brian Kelly’s program endured its third-worst bowl defeat ever.

This game was over quickly as the Tide scored on their first possession, forced Notre Dame into a three-and-out on its first offensive series and scored again the next time it touched the ball. Just 8:46 into the contest and Alabama led 14-0 and never looked back.

Notre Dame was simply no match for Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide.

The Irish couldn’t tackle, couldn’t run the ball, couldn’t stop the Tide and couldn’t move the ball with any kind of consistency.

Sure the Irish could’ve used some luck early like on what looked like a first-down catch by Tyler Eifert, but was rule incomplete because the talented tight end juggled the pass while falling out of bounds or on what appeared to be a bad first-quarter interference call on a punt that Bama fumbled and the Irish recovered. But lets be real, had those plays gone Notre Dame’s way, they weren’t going to matter in the grand scheme of things.

Alabama just simply wasn’t going to be denied.

The Tide was able to run the ball at will and after they racked up 202 first-quarter yards against a team that had given up a little over 280 a game all season and led 21-0 15:04 into the game, you knew the Irish were out of their league.

Alabama racked up an astonishing 529 total yards as ultra-talented running back Eddie Lacy, the game’s offensive MVP, ran for 140 yards (96 in the first half) and T.J. Yeldon ran for 108 yards.

Lacy and Yeldon’s efforts came against an Irish defense that ranked fourth in the nation, allowing just 92.42 yards per game.

I’m not even sure how you try to arm-chair quarterback Notre Dame’s effort. It was apparent early on when the Irish started the game in a no-back set with three tight ends for the first time this season that Kelly knew his team’s only chance to move the ball effectively against this Bama defense was going to be through the air.

And when you become one dimensional against a team like the Crimson Tide, you are finished.

The Irish, who fell to 0-4 in BCS appearances being outscored by a combined 158-57 in those contests, managed just 32 yards on the ground. Game over.

Even when Everett Golson tried to ad lib and get some yardage with his scrambling ability, he couldn’t. After all, this wasn’t Purdue or Pitt, who Notre Dame needed thrilling finishes to beat in 2012.

The fact is the Irish didn’t face a team nearly as talented or as fast as the one they did in South Beach.

Remember Notre Dame’s schedule entering the season was supposed to be one of the most daunting anyone in the nation had. However, it turned out to be very soft. Irish regular-season opponents went 3-6 in bowl games and four of those foes got blown out of those postseason games.

Notre Dame posted a pair of wins over top-10 teams, beating Michigan State and Oklahoma, a team that was blown out by Texas A&M in its bowl game as the Aggies were the only team to beat Bama this season.

Speaking of Bama, can anyone dethrone Alabama or for that matter the SEC?

It sure doesn’t look good for wannabes when you consider Bama had five players selected in the first 35 picks of last year’s NFL Draft yet won a second straight national championship.

So I’ll go out on a limb and give you my No. 1 team for 2013 … Alabama. Now there’s a reach, isn’t it?

Doug Griffiths is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ISLgriffiths.