Alabama vs. Notre Dame: Final Game Failure Clouds Future of Irish Program

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IJanuary 8, 2013

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 07:  The Notre Dame Fighting Irish look on after losing against the Alabama Crimson Tide by a score of 42-14 inthe 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Like a house of cards, Notre Dame's undefeated regular season has come crashing down in the blink of an eye as the team was embarrassed right off the field in the BCS National Championship Game. 

The Alabama Crimson Tide rolled the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 42-14, on Monday night in Miami. It was such a thorough beatdown that it is fair to question everything we thought we learned about Notre Dame this season.  

Most notably, the questioning has to start with the defensive performance. The Irish's defense carried this team this season. It finished the regular season ranked first in points allowed at just 10.3 points per game. 

That same defense was completely manhandled. They were blown off the ball at the line, and the tackling was atrocious. As a result, the Tide ran for 265 yards at 5.9 yards per carry. That is a far cry from the 3.2 yards per carry that Notre Dame allowed for the season prior to the game. 

Now, instead of singing the praises of Notre Dame's defense, that group will fall under the microscope. 

As most people are readily aware of, Notre Dame did not face the toughest of schedules, and its defensive excellence now seems to be more of a product of that weak schedule than an unmistakable dominance, and this is the prevailing feeling that will hang over this program all offseason. 

That means all the positive momentum the Irish claimed in this season is diminishing at a frightening rate. Not too mention any projections for their performance next year. 

The Irish will be losing 29 seniors from this roster, and that includes their unquestioned leader—Manti T'eo. 

Now, we have on our hands a team that went undefeated in the regular season, but won four games by three points or less or in overtime, and was humiliated in the championship game. 

This casts a lot of gloom for the Irish's 2013 season; it stunts the momentum they gained from this year, and puts a promising future that, just a day ago seemed like a lock, in serious doubt.