Alabama vs Notre Dame: BCS Title Game Proved We Need a College Football Playoff

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterJanuary 10, 2013

For the second straight season, Alabama made the BCS National Championship Game look more like a spring game than a battle between the supposed top two teams in the country.

The Crimson Tide took a commanding 21-0 lead over the Fighting Irish four seconds into the second quarter on Monday night, and cruised to their second straight BCS National Championship and third in four years. 

It was further proof that the move to the four-team playoff will be the right one. After what we saw on Monday night, it's hard to believe that Notre Dame would have found its way to the title game if it had to play a national semifinal.

If a four-team playoff was in effect following the 2012 season, we likely would have had No. 1 Notre Dame playing No. 4 Oregon and No. 2 Alabama playing No. 3 Florida in the national semifinals.

With the selection committee deciding the participants, those matchups wouldn't be set in stone, but it's all we have to go on for now.

And let me be clear: Notre Dame would have been exposed by Chip Kelly's Ducks.

Irish defensive tackle Louis Nix III made headlines following the BCS title game loss with this quote:

“They didn’t dominate us,” he told the Associated Press (via “We missed tackles.”

He's right. Nix himself wasn't dominated, but Alabama was able to control the line of scrimmage and its running backs were able to get to the second level very quickly.

When that happened, Notre Dame's linebackers and secondary were overwhelmed by the speed of the Tide and took terrible angles and missed tackles.

Essentially, Notre Dame couldn't handle the Tide in space, which is the very thing that Oregon's offense is predicated on—getting the ball in the hands of playmakers in space.

The inability of Notre Dame's defense to get off the field was a big reason why Alabama was able to control the tempo from the time toe met leather. The Crimson Tide converted eight of 13 third downs on the night. Oregon's offense led the Pac-12 in third-down conversions at 46.43 percent.

When you miss tackles, you put yourself in 2nd- or 3rd-and-short situations.

Now, I'm not for expanding the playoffs beyond four teams. If you do that, two very bad things happen. 

Most importantly, the college football regular season—the most exciting three months in sports—will lose importance. The goal for crowning a national champion should be to reward the team that has earned it, not the team that is the hottest in December and January.

Secondly, if it expands beyond four, conferences will demand automatic bids for conference champions. Do you want five-loss Wisconsin playing Stanford in a national quarterfinal?

Yes, the Badgers benefited from Ohio State and Penn State being ineligible for the Big Ten title, but teams suffering NCAA issues aren't going away anytime soon.

Since when does an 8-5 team deserve a legitimate shot at a national title?

Never. The 2013 BCS National Championship Game proved that four is the right number. 

It will reward excellence, weed out impostors and—since the national title game will be played a week after the semifinals—reward a champion with one week to prepare, making it more like the standard of excellence we hold teams to during the regular season.



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