MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — It apparently is an Alabama team rule that players cannot use the “D” word.
Even after the Crimson Tide had secured their second straight national title and third in four years, when players were asked if this is a dynasty, they acted as if uttering that would be akin to saying Nick Saban has bad hair.
“I’ll let you all use that word,” said tight end Michael Williams, who is a senior but still showed fear that Saban, the powerful Alabama coach, could take away his scholarship.
Senior guard Chance Warmack really wanted to use the word after his team’s 42-14 romp over Notre Dame on Monday night at Sun Life Stadium in the BCS Championship Game. And the first-time All-American came a lot closer than Williams did.
“That’s kind of cocky,” Warmack said about the “D” word after his No. 2 Crimson Tide (13-1) walloped the No. 1 Fighting Irish (12-1) for the SEC’s seventh straight national crown. “I don’t want to disrespect anything. I would appreciate it if you use the word. I would like to, though. I’d put it in bold letters.”
OK, Nick. Let it be known that Warmack, expected to go in the first round of April’s NFL Draft, did not technically use the word.
After Monday’s game Saban said, “I don’t think words like ‘dynasty’ are really words that I’m much interested in.” But, of course, what the Crimson Tide have done lately is a dynasty.
They became just the third team since the college football poll era began in 1936 to win three national championships in four seasons. Notre Dame did it in 1946, 1947 and 1949 and Nebraska accomplished it in 1994, 1995 and 1997, although it must be said the Cornhuskers split the national title with Michigan in the final season.
The Crimson Tide became the first team to win undisputed consecutive national titles since Nebraska did it nearly two decades ago. And no outfit in recent college football history has been so dominant in the postseason.
Following a 21-0 win over LSU last year, Alabama has outscored foes 63-14 in the last two BCS championships. Going back to their 37-21 win over Texas to win the crown three years ago, the Crimson Tide had a stretch from the fourth quarter of that night to the third quarter Monday in which they had scored 69 consecutive points in title games.
So, coach, forget the word “dynasty.” But some day when you’re retired, will you look back and realize what your team did was quite special?
“Yeah, I think it’s pretty special what we’ve accomplished, what the players accomplished, what the coaches accomplished,” said Saban, whose legendary career now includes four national crowns, including one in 2003 at LSU. “I think it’s really special. And one of these days, when I’m sitting on the side of a hill watching the stream go by, I’ll probably figure it out even more. But what about next year’s team? You’ve got to think about that, too?”
With that in mind, how about going for four in five years? No team ever has done that.
“Well, I’m not ready to go there yet. Give me 24 hours on this one,” Saban said with a laugh.
There is a guy who is thinking four of five. That would be junior quarterback AJ McCarron, who redshirted as a freshman in 2009 but quickly corrected a reporter who said he wasn’t part of that season’s national title outfit.
“I hope so,” McCarron said of adding another one next year. “I’ve got one year left, so hopefully we can try to make it one more. I guess you can call it what you want, but right now (this Alabama run is) is definitely something special to be a part of and I love it.”
With one more year left of having to play for Saban, McCarron didn’t dare risk coming close to using the “D” word. But if he keeps playing the way he does in big games, perhaps Saban wouldn’t have a problem if he did.
McCarron on Monday completed 20 of 28 passes for 264 yards with four touchdowns. He threw two TDs to Amari Cooper, a freshman from Miami who caught six balls for 105 yards, one to Williams and one to running back Eddie Lacy, who also did plenty of damage on the ground with 140 yards and a score.
McCarron last year completed 23 of 34 passes for 234 yards in the win over LSU. He’s hit on an amazing 69.4 percent of his passes in his two title games.
“I just think everybody likes playing in big games,” McCarron said. “That’s when big players step up is playing in big games. I think it shows what our team is made of.”
The Crimson Tide wasted no time in showing the Fighting Irish what they’re made of. They led 14-0 after the first quarter, 28-0 at halftime and were up 35-0 before Notre Dame finally scored with 4:08 left in the third quarter when quarterback Everett Golson dived in from two yards out.
“As a defense, we wanted to pitch a shutout,” said defensive end Damion Square, whose Crimson Tide held the Notre Dame to a scant 32 yards rushing.
After taking a 42-7 lead, the Crimson Tide could have handed the Fighting Irish the worst bowl defeat in their storied history, eclipsing the 40-6 loss to Nebraska they had in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 1, 1973. Alas, Notre Dame saved a little face when it got one more TD midway through the fourth quarter.
All Irish coach Brian Kelly could do was shake his head after the game. He had just watched his undefeated team be dissected by a juggernaut.
“I measure success as a head coach with consistency,” Kelly said about what Alabama has done in recent years. “And some people use the word ‘dynasty.’ I look at it as program consistency. It starts at the top and filters its way through the entire program. And what Coach Saban has been able to do has really put an exclamation point on consistency.”
Sounds as if they don’t throw around the “D” at Notre Dame either. Of course, it’s been a while since the Fighting Irish, who haven’t won a national title since 1988, have had the chance to use it when discussing themselves.