I’m writing this column the day after Alabama demolished Notre Dame, 42-14, to win the BCS National Football Championship. The game was effectively over about the middle of the first quarter and there was never any doubt after that point as to who would be victorious. With that said, let’s look at whether Notre Dame deserved to be involved in the championship game.
First of all, congratulations to Alabama, and its large fan base, on winning the national title. The Crimson Tide left no doubt as to who had the best team in college football in 2012. The Red Elephants have bragging rights for the next year and should enjoy their superiority.
The question is: did Notre Dame deserve to be in Miami on Monday night? I have heard many comments following the game saying that Notre Dame should never have been in the game, that they didn’t deserve the invitation, that their undefeated record was marred by an easy schedule and some close wins. That’s easy to say now that they have been beaten so badly.
Well, my first question is: who did deserve to play Alabama? Sorry Georgia fans, but the Bulldogs did not deserve to be in Miami on Monday night! They had their chance in the SEC Championship game and couldn’t do it. I know that they were close but they don’t get a second chance.
How about one-loss Oregon? Well, they lost to Stanford at home. How about Florida? Well they lost to Georgia who lost to Alabama. How about Kansas State? Well they lost to a mediocre Baylor team. How about ACC champion Florida State? Nope, they lost two games. How about LSU? Well, they lost two regular season games. How about Texas A&M? Good idea but they lost two games even though they handed Alabama their only loss.
So there sat Notre Dame! Undefeated and untied, but disliked by a huge block of college football fans, especially those in the south. I keep hearing that the Irish played an easy schedule. Okay, as college football fans know, schedules are made far in advance. Some games are scheduled as far in advance as ten years. There is no way to determine the quality of an opponent when schedules are made.
Notre Dame’s 2012 schedule included perennial powers Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford, Oklahoma, BYU, Purdue, Miami, Pitt, and Southern Cal. These are quality opponents who through the years have fielded outstanding teams. Many of these teams own national championships. There were no “cupcakes” on the Irish schedule.
Notre Dame beat all of these teams. Yes, there were a few close games but they won them all. They beat Pitt and Purdue by three points and Stanford and Michigan by a touchdown, but they won them all! All Notre Dame could do was play “their” schedule. They couldn’t play Alabama’s, LSU’s, South Carolina’s, Florida’s, or anyone else’s schedule.
I have heard the argument today that the national championship should be between the two “best” teams in the country. I agree with that as I’m sure most fans do. Well, how do you find those two teams? I would think that you look at the season records. Right? You play your schedule and live with your record. That determines who should be in the game.
Notre Dame was undefeated in 2012! Their regular season record was better than Alabama’s even though, as I am aware, they were inferior to the Tide on the field. But, we didn’t know that until Monday night. Many people felt that the game on Monday evening would be close and some “experts” thought that Notre Dame would win.
My argument is that Notre Dame deserved to play in the national championship game. Their performance on Monday night was poor, but they deserved to be there according to the standards by which we select the participants. They were deserving!!!
And by the way, Alabama would have beaten anyone they played on Monday except maybe the New England Patriots.