Alabama's Eddie Lacy reacts after rushing for a touchdown against Notre Dame during the first half of the BCS championship game on Monday. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 08, 2013 7:16 PM
Usually the world’s most powerful football conference waits until the game’s waning moments before lighting up the ceremonial “S-E-C, S-E-C” chant.
Oh, but wait. This time there wasn’t really much use in waiting after the first quarter of Alabama’s nationally televised beat down of the latest BCS pretender.
Nice try, Notre Dame.
Maybe next year you can really get back to national relevance.
All those fancy red-zone stats and defensive eye-openers the Irish brought to the pregame buildup? Alabama crushed them like it was a walk in the park.
Made the Irish appear as helpless as Mississippi State, almost as hapless as Kentucky.
There were a lot of feel-good stories from Notre Dame as the hype machine tried to justify a game between college’s football two most storied programs.
Then the Crimson Tide flat out knocked the apostrophe out of Manti Te’o — you telling me HE should have won the Heisman? — and turned him into just another Irish Rudy.
On the big stage, unable to hide from the SEC any longer, the Irish looked just as a sloth-footed slow, just as athletically overmatched, just as wide-eyed overwhelmed as all the others they’ve rolled out from near and far in desperate attempts to stop the SEC streak.
The parlor game Tuesday was seeing how deep into the SEC you could get before you found somebody the Fighting Irish might have a fighting chance against.
Over the last half of the season, after all, it wasn’t like the Tide ran roughshod through the SEC.
Alabama lost to Texas A&M, was fortunate to get away from LSU with a comeback victory and Georgia was a tipped pass away from taking the Tide’s place in the title game.
So, one more time …
S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!
Yet, for some reason, it seems a little faint. The rest of the SEC doesn’t seem to be celebrating along with the winner as much as some of the rest.
Many from the SEC, in fact, were card-carrying Golden Domers for the night, a horrid thought for most of them, thinkable only in desperate times.
At LSU it’s somewhat understandable.
But the SEC’s other teams didn’t have Nick Saban abandon them for the NFL and, worse, eventually come back to haunt them.
Yet the non-Tide parts of the SEC weren’t exactly leading the taunts in the wake of the latest.
Then, as Saban lifted the national championship crystal for the third time in four years, it hit me perhaps why the rest of the league didn’t really join in for a show of brotherly love and rally behind the Alabama cause.
Yes, this marked seven consecutive years of SEC dominance in the BCS championship game.
Something to cheer about.
And the rest of the country, already suffering from acute SEC fatigue, will surely be hearing about for the entire offseason.
But it’s different now that it’s three out of four for Alabama.
At some point, does this amazing run quit being about the SEC dominance and morph itself into just an unprecedented Alabama dynasty with the rest of the league tagging along for the ride?
For that matter, that’s four out of four for the state of Alabama, although you could hardly say that the Crimson Tide and Auburn are joined at the hip.
The really amazing thing about the SEC’s title streak, back when it hit five straight, was that it was done by four teams.
Now, the rest of the SEC seems to be in danger of just living vicariously through the Tide.
It’s probably nothing to worry about.
Similar fears have arisen from time to time since the SEC rose to unquestioned power in college football.
Just a few years ago, there was real anxiety, bordering on a crisis, that the SEC had become nothing more than an Alabama-Florida rivalry for the conference championship game with 10 little obedient soldiers trying not to get in the way.
So, of course, neither Alabama nor Florida even won their division that year, and it wasn’t long before Florida coach Urban Meyer flamed out of the conference.
Nick Saban doesn’t look like a candidate for burnout. He’s already plotting more sinister stuff for next year.
He and Alabama aren’t going anywhere.
It is said that a rising Tide raises the level of all the ships around it.
The rest of the SEC better hope so.
• • •Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org