Would Notre Dame Have Even Made the Title Game if We Had a Playoff This Year?

Lisa HornePac-12 and Big 12 Lead WriterJanuary 8, 2013

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 07:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates with the trophy after defeating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Alabama won the game by a score of 42-14.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It was ugly.

Alabama rolled Notre Dame 42-14 to win the 2012 BCS Championship and in the process, thoroughly embarrassed the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Notre Dame fans were heading for the exits after three quarters, according to CBSSports' Bruce Feldman, who was reporting from the game.

Lots of folks wearing Notre Dame colors heading to the exits. Many empty seats in what was an ND dominated section below us

— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) January 8, 2013

They left too late.  

With :31 left in the first half, Alabama took a 28-0 lead when Eddie Lacy took a pass and charged into the end zone. ESPN/ABC sportscaster Brent Musberger made an obvious, yet apropos statement after the touchdown, saying, "If this was a prize fight, they'd call it off."

If only Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly had a white towel in his possession. Instead, he had his play-call sheet and some leprechaun that apparently brought good luck to the Irish. Both failed him. 

Nevermind the fact that Notre Dame got whipped in the trenches. Nevermind the fact that Notre Dame didn't even look like it belonged in this game. The question is, if the playoffs were held this year, would the Fighting Irish have even made it to the title game in a four or eight-team playoff?


Let's be realistic here—Notre Dame would have had its clock cleaned. Football is won in the trenches, and Notre Dame was completely dominated by Alabama's offensive and defensive lines. Take your pick which side of the ball Notre Dame stunk up more—it's a tough choice.

Notre Dame's vaunted front seven missed tackles on every other play—Heisman finalist Manti Te'o was reduced to a welcome mat. This BCS Championship was another farce of a game, but the hype—oh my gosh, two storied programs meeting for a national championship—made this seem like more of a contest than it really was.  

Just think—if Ohio State hadn't got sanctioned by the NCAA, we'd be seeing Ohio State vs Alabama instead of this stinker because the Buckeyes would have probably moved on. And guess what? Alabama would have still won because nobody—and I mean nobody—better prepares for a game with over two weeks of preparation than Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban. Saban is 11-1 in games when he's had at least two weeks of preparation. 

So here we are, with a final score of 1,000-14, and Notre Dame—after all the superfluous and gratuitous accolades it was afforded during the regular season—gets embarrassed by Alabama in a game that was over in the first half.

This is why the BCS playoffs are happening. This is why every college fan hates the BCS.

A playoff would have weeded out the pretenders from the contenders, and hate it or not, it probably would have produced an SEC team vs. an SEC team. Sure it polarizes a section of this country, but isn't the whole point of a playoff to determine who are the two best teams? 

So what if it's from the same conference? So what if it's the SEC? So what if you're sick and tired of the SEC? NFL fans have had to deal with 49ers fatigue, Vikings fatigue, Steelers fatigue and Patriots fatigue, but at least NFL fans recognize that those teams earned their way to a title game. 

Those NFL championship games were legit. The BCS is not. This BCS Championship should have been an SEC vs. SEC team. 

Florida may have actually shown up in a BCS playoff despite its poor showing against Louisville in the Sugar Bowl—the Gators tended to play down to the level of their opponents all season. Georgia actually gave Alabama a good game, losing 32-28 in the SEC Championship. Heck, most college football fans would have loved to see a rematch (gasp!) of Texas A&M vs. Alabama—anything was better than this debacle of a (mythical) national championship.

Right now, the pollsters got almost everything wrong this season, starting with USC and ending with Notre Dame.

This will be fixed—OK, it won't be really fixed because the four best teams will be decided by polls and a "committee"—but college football fans will have to put up with one more season of inane matchups due to hype and hyperbole over football programs that want to be relevant but right now, are not up to the task. 

Not as long as Nick Saban is coaching that team in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.