If last night’s BCS National Championship game proved anything, it’s that Alabama is the best college football team in the country. But besides the Crimson Tide cementing their claim as a dynasty with their third title in four years, the national championship game proved one other thing:
Notre Dame is not ready for the big stage.
Sure, they played in big games with major implications this season (Stanford, Oklahoma, USC), but on the biggest stage, the Irish looked like a deer caught in the headlights. Up until last night the Irish had not faced a team of Alabama’s caliber and they were completely over matched. All the talk pregame was how loose Notre Dame was and how they were going to be aggressive from the get-go. That’s not exactly how the game played out as they were blown away from the opening kick and eventually lost 42-14.
Although the Irish wanted to be aggressive, it seemed that they were too aggressive and it played right into Alabama’s game plan. Notre Dame’s linebackers continuously overran the play and were missing tackles left and right. Manti Te’o did not look like a Heisman Trophy finalist and his supporting cast looked ordinary against Alabama’s speed. At halftime, even Notre Dame’s head coach Brian Kelly was searching for answers as to why the Irish were missing so many tackles.
Alabama had been on that type of stage before and it showed. They looked more poised, they had a better gameplan and they executed it to perfection. The Irish were dominated in all facets of the game, but one of the only good things that can come out of a game like this is the experience. All of the young players on Notre Dame’s roster now have championship game experience and they will be a little more comfortable in that situation if they manage to get there again.
The Irish may not have been ready for the biggest stage this year, but now they are better prepared for the future, which is about the only positive they can take from last night’s performance.