by John Vannie
Lost in the euphoria of Notre Dame’s first opportunity to play for the national championship in two decades is the sobering truth that mighty Alabama of the Southeastern Conference represents the opposition. It is said that the battle-tested Crimson Tide could hold their own in the NFL, so the Irish might want to show up in Miami a week early and attempt to take on Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl. Why not let Florida State play the role of the Washington Generals as Alabama adds another trophy to the SEC’s collection in a state where capital punishment is still legal?
There are several reasons why no one would blame Notre Dame if it elected to stay inside the locker room on January 7. Alabama’s running game is the most devastating and powerful land force that has been seen on this planet since the German Wehrmacht rolled through Poland in 1939. Its running backs are rarely brought to the turf by fewer than three defenders. The Tide’s receiving corps is faster than the Jamaican 4×100 relay team. Quarterback A.J. McCarron has broken SEC passing records set by Peyton Manning.
Defensively, Alabama is so powerful that opponents routinely punt on third down to avoid losing more yardage. The linemen and linebackers are virtually unblockable, and only fail to make the tackle when they have to step around the broken bodies of their opponents on the way to the ball carrier. When Ronald Reagan proposed spending billions to deploy the Star Wars missile defense system in the 1980’s to provide an impenetrable aerial shield, it was only because the players in Alabama’s secondary had not yet been born.
If that’s not enough, the legendary Alabama players who take the field during punts and kickoffs were the inspiration for coining the term “special” teams.
Anyone who follows the SEC would tell you that the better teams in the conference would match up favorably with the 1966 Green Bay Packers, the 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers, the 1985 Chicago Bears or the 1993 Dallas Cowboys. The BCS should consider a running clock in this championship match to keep the score in double-digits, otherwise the beating suffered by the Irish might seem worse than five years of famine and pestilence in their native country.
Tide Coach Nick Saban is an unparalleled motivator and master strategist. He is routinely consulted by world leaders ranging from Bill Gates to Bill Belichick. Saban developed a preference for Dos Equis well before it became interesting. To keep from getting bored in his preparation for Notre Dame, he is consulting on a part time basis with Congress to keep the country from going over the fiscal cliff. Once this latest championship game is history, Saban’s likeness will reportedly be added to Mount Rushmore. Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, a lowly Irishman from Boston, will have all he can do to refrain from asking Saban for an autograph during the pregame press conference.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame will field a ragtag collection of bookworms wearing shiny gold hats, lead by a bearded midget in a tacky green suit. The Irish schedule consisted of exactly zero SEC teams during the regular season, so they have no idea what they are getting themselves into. Their best player, Manti Te’o, is a mild mannered kid from Hawaii who obviously failed high school geography. He set sail for the University of Southern California only to end up in Northern Indiana, yet he is responsible for aligning his fellow defenders before each snap.
I’ve heard of inspirational underdog stories before, but this game has nothing to do with Hollywood.
In fact, Notre Dame fans should send the children to bed as the broadcast may evoke an “R” rating for excessive violence. I’m almost embarrassed to say that I’ll be there and would not miss it for the world. Almost.