Monday, January 7, 2013

2013 BCS Championship Game Liveblog!

Greetings! It's been a while since I've trotted out a liveblog, but since this is expected to be the #1 rated program in the history of ESPN (not a misprint) and I have no rooting interest in the game (I hate Notre Dame and the SEC equally), it is time! Stay with me throughout the game for whatever "insights" I may have and may the best team win!
Note: You will need to "refresh" at the top of the page in order to see real-time updates, or simply come and go as you please.
  • 5:37 pm - The countdown is on! Just under three hours to game-time and though I haven't felt this kind of fan experience since I was very young (the 1997 Michigan Wolverines to be exact), it must be driving folks from Irish and "Roll Tide" nation crazy. Stay tuned for pregame and kick-off closer to 8:30 pm. 
  • 8:21 - The TV is fired up and Brent Musberger is on the mic. Has there ever been a more perfect voice for college football? He always makes it feel like a big game, and along with the now-retired Keith Jackson, he's the voice of the college gridiron for me. 
  • 8:24 - Cut to a live shot of Notre Dame slapping the "Play Like a Champion Today" sign... how did it make it here from Miami? Oh, here comes Alabama out of the tunnel followed closely by the Irish and a fired-up Manti Te'o. This is fantastic. Two legendary programs, two insane fanbases, and all eyes on Miami.
  • 8:26 - Kirk Herbstreit isn't calling an Ohio State game! This is great for me! Where is Chris Spielman?
  • 8:28 - Notre Dame wins the toss and defers. Their only win of the night?! Okay, too soon. I can't help but be more inspired by confidence when I see Nick Saban than when I see Brian Kelly. That's not a shot at Kelly, but Saban is the best in the business. 
  • 8:31 - The ball is in the air! This is about as loud of a crowd as you'll ever hear at a neutral site in this big of a game. Think about Super Bowl crowds that you've heard... are they ever rowdy? This one is.
  • 8:33 - AJ McCarron with a perfect strike for a 30-yard gain to Norwood. That should slow the ND defense a bit as they were really flying forward on the first two snaps. 
  • 8:34 - Eddie Lacy is an absolute monster. 10 yards, about 4 broken tackles, and his helmet comes flying off. Suddenly Alabama is on the ND 27-yard line. How did that happen!?
  • 8:36 - Did I mention that Lacy was a monster? 20 yards to the house for the opening touchdown. That's an absolute march by the Tide. And, on cue, Musberger points out that it was the longest drive allowed by the Irish defense all season. Not quite an "uh oh" from South Bend, but certainly not a positive start.
  • 8:39 - Is this drive going to be huge as huge for ND as I think it is? If they go 3-and-out, Saban and company will start smelling blood, I think. 
  • 8:40 - X-factor of the night for ND's offense? Tight End Tyler Eifert. He's the Mackey Award winning weapon on the outside that could pose some match-up issues, even against a lightning-fast Bama defense. 
  • 8:42 - I know I just said that Eifert is the X-factor, but that doesn't mean I'd be iso-ing him on Dee Milliner. He's one of the top-5 corners in the country and has good size despite Eifert towering over him. 
  • 8:44 - Most under-covered story of this game is Everett Golson playing in his 12th career game. Yes, 12 career games, with the fact that he wasn't even the full-time starter all year. Somehow, with all of the coverage on the Irish defense, it's been overlooked that he's going into the Lion's Den against Saban and that speed. Enjoy that, Everett. 
  • 8:46 - Fumble!!? Alabama puts it on the carpet on the ensuing punt return, but the recovery is waived off due to a kick-catch interference call. Crisis averted, although that would've been a huge momentum swing and that fair catch signal was verrryyyyyy late. 
  • 8:47 - On second look, that's an absolutely awful call and Brian Kelly is losing his mind (rightfully so). They blew that one. 
  • 8:49 - Eddie Lacy is doing his best Trent Richardson impression. Ran through Te'o twice already. 
  • 8:51 - If AJ McCarron is this accurate, good luck to Notre Dame's defense. Multi-faceted offense from Bama = doom. 
  • 8:53 - Absolutely incredible run by Lacy down inside the 5-yard line. Two jump cuts, insane patience and great vision to get to second level.
  • 8:54 - 14-0, Alabama. The Irish defense is on its heels in a big way. Couldn't be a worse scenario for Notre Dame through the opening half-quarter.
  • 8:56 - I can't help but dread tomorrow's "SEC Rules!" response by the entire Southern United States. Have fun taking full credit for one team's performance! Can you tell I grew up in Atlanta as a Michigan fan? 
  • 8:58 - Remember when I said that opening drive was huge for Golson? Multiply that by about 10 on his second drive. At the very least, ND needs a couple first downs to let their defense regroup.
  • 8:59 - Oh. My. Goodness. Tyler Eifert just put the ball on the ground at the Irish 30-yard line. If that holds up, that literally could be the dagger for Notre Dame, and yes, I'm aware that there is 6 minutes left in the 1st quarter. 
  • 9:01 - Currently during the commercial break, but I think Eifert's knee was down. Second life for ND if they overturn it.
  • 9:02 - Irish ball. 
  • 9:05 - Zero separation from the ND receivers/tight ends so far in the game. Another punt coming from ND. Time for Te'o and company to get a stop before things get out of control. 
  • 9:06 - The first shot of AJ McCarron's girlfriend! Who had 9:06 in the pool? Wait, she's an Auburn student?
  • 9:08 - I won't tell you that he's made any highly difficult plays, but AJ McCarron has been flawless so far. Tide on the march again. 
  • 9:09 - A negative play for the Bama offense/Irish defense! Nicks absolutely blew up Barrett Jones and took away any chance for Yeldon to use his speed.
  • 9:15 - Touchdown, Alabama. At 21-0, this game isn't over, but it is the tallest of tall orders for Notre Dame. Consider this, the Irish offense only threw for about 2600 yards and 13 touchdowns this season, and they're going to ask Golson to heave it around a lot if they want to come back. The downside? It's tee-off time for the Bama defensive line.
  • 9:16 - Important for ND to not abandon the run entirely. They must keep the ND defense off of the field for a decent amount of time on this drive. They looked gassed and overmatched. 
  • 9:20 - Some life from Golson and company until they cross midfield... and then he makes the inexplicable decision to throw a deep jumpball on 4th and 5. Turnover on downs.
  • 9:21 - Nothing I hate more than that play call. When did it become an epidemic to be "cute" and throw deep on 4th-and-short? What's the percentage on that play's success? 15%? 
  • 9:23 - In all seriousness, if Alabama scores a touchdown here, this game is academic. Please don't give me the "Auburn did it with Cam!" argument for a comeback, because Everett Golson is certainly not Cam Newton. 
  • 9:27 - Alabama forced to punt! The dream lives!
  • 9:27 - Of course ND muffs the punt. That would've been comical if Bama recovered. That said, the Irish take over inside their own 10-yard line in desperate need of points. 
  • 9:32 - Yikes. An explosive safety blitz from Alabama shuts down ND for a loss of 5 yards right after ND finally had a positive running play. Golson follows with a short completion and a scramble, but Kelly sends the punting unit on for a 4th-and-1.
  • 9:33 - Musberger brings up a great point. How long before we see Tommy Rees for Notre Dame? Isn't he the better passer?
  • 9:36 - I think Eddie Lacy looks fantastic. I know I keep referencing him, but every run is patient and powerful. 
  • 9:39 - McCarron misses Cooper about about this much on the cut-your-throat deep ball there, and Bama will punt. Seems like Notre Dame's defense has awakened a bit, but they're still in need of rest and the Irish offense has let them down in a big way. 
  • 9:40 - Another special teams miscue? Notre Dame has now muffed a punt AND fielded one inside their own 5-yard line. I feel like young punt returners have literally forgotten about the "plant your feet on the 10-yard line" rule this season. 
  • 9:42 - I'm not crapping on him, but has anyone heard the name "Manti Te'o" tonight? It's not his fault that the secondary is getting torched, but he's been a non-factor in run support, too.
  • 9:44 - If you're an ND fan, aren't you dreaming of a 12-play touchdown drive here? If they can get 7 and milk the rest of the half, they're suddenly back in the game... right?
  • 9:47 - Almost on cue, Golson takes a soul-crushing sack. I don't even know what to say. Rudy was offsides, too. 
  • 9:48 - If you're Saban, I think you just ride the two running backs at this point. I don't think ND has shown you that they can score 21 points without any big swings/turnovers, and if you couple that with a monster offensive line and two gifted backs, it's a pretty solid recipe. 
  • 9:50 - Great point by Herbstreit. ND never misses this many tackles, and it's not like they haven't played against some serious runners this year (Denard, Le'veon Bell, etc.). Either Yeldon and Lacy are just incredible, or the Irish are folding. 
  • 9:51 - On cue, Te'o misses a tackle in the backfield. If that wasn't a microcosm of the night's events, I don't know what is. 
  • 9:56 - Eddie Lacy is a certified ballplayer. He spins into the endzone and the lead is now 28-0 with :31 left in the 2nd quarter. Over 100 total yards and 2 TDs for Lacy in the half. Wow. For all intensive purposes, this one is over, and we could be witnessing one of the most dominant title game performances of all-time. 
  • 9:57 - This is when being a "journalist" is difficult. I probably shouldn't flat-out call this game "over", but I'm having serious trouble conjuring up a scenario where ND gets back into this game. Punt return TD? Pick-six? Both? 
  • 9:59 - Halftime. 28-0, Alabama. We'll be back for the second half after a short recess. Stay tuned.
  • 10:16 - We're back! It's pretty indicative of the way things have gone that Desmond Howard and Urban Meyer are virtually cackling on the halftime set. Have to imagine that millions of TV sets have been turned to the "off" position after the 1st half.
  • 10:22 - Serious question, would you throw a single pass in the 3rd quarter if you were Nick Saban? I literally don't think I would. With their running backs and ND's refusal to play 8 in the box, they're going to move the chains enough to sustain without risking the ball through the air. It should look like an early 1970's Big Ten game in the second half. 
  • 10:27 - INT from Golson on the 1st drive. That's incredibly brutal for ND. I'm out of ideas.
  • 10:28 - I said this on the first drive of the game, but Herbstreit just banged the point home. Why on Earth is ND attacking Dee Milliner? He's an All-American! He's literally made every play he's been asked to make all night, and if they thought they saw something on tape, they didn't. 
  • 10:30 - 14 carries for 116 yards from Eddie Lacy. Scroll up to read me fawning over him endlessly.
  • 10:34 - I feel bad for Brent and Herbie. They're going to be in full-scale BS mode by the start of the 4th quarter. Anyone have a good TJ Yeldon story!?
  • 10:36 - On a positive note for Notre Dame, Nix is out there absolutely giving it up on one leg. That's the kind of stuff that makes sports special. They're getting absolutely housed, and he has no business out there, but refused to be left on the sidelines.
  • 10:37 - And in the same breath... Touchdown, Alabama. 35-0. I'll be wrapping this up soon if this continues. You've been warned. 
  • 10:40 - I would lay at least 20-to-1 that Brent Musberger will make a veiled Vegas reference if and when this game goes over the 40-point over/under total. He's in Cooperstown with regard to veiled references and by that point, it'll be the only thing left to talk about.
  • 10:44 - Openly rooting for ND to scratch. The SEC conglomerate will be at least 15% more insufferable if they get shut out. 
  • 10:48 - Touchdown, Irish! And the over hits! It's a celebration! I can't stop using exclamation points! Somebody stop me! 
  • 10:52 - I'm actually interested to see how Saban handles this now. Go for jugular with some play-action from McCarron or just grind with the running backs. To be honest, I don't think it even matters.
  • 10:56 - I've actually enjoyed Herbstreit tonight... until he starts talking about how Notre Dame "hasn't seen this speed all year." Come on, Kirk. You're better than that. 
  • 11:04 - $200,000 for Saban after the win tonight.... and he's worth every, single penny.
  • 11:06 - Kinda surprised that Bama is still throwing, but it's about as safe as it gets in the passing game for the most part. Dump-off city and they've been coached to stay in bounds it seems. Clock is rolling.
  • 11:07 - Eddie Lacy is the best player on the field tonight, and that's really saying something with the talent that is assembled.
  • 11:09 - Touchdown, Alabama. 42-7. And with that, I am signing off until tomorrow... 
Congratulations to the Crimson Tide on a dominant, national title-winning performance. 


Anonymous said...

Best linebacker in the country. Media hyped him all year long because of his story (which I respect). They ought to be ashamed of themselves. They had no business playing in the BCS championship.

Travesty before God and man.

Brad said...

LoL. Certainly overmatched. I don't blame Te'o and he really is a good player who made a MILLION plays this year.

Travesty indeed, sir.