Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Top Five Moments From the BCS Championship
Watching the BCS title game this year was almost as lackluster as watching last year's game when five field goals and one touchdown – all by the same team — accounted for all the action. The 2013 version between Alabama — scorer of all 22 points in the 2012 game — and Notre Dame was just about as boring, except for the two teams scored a combined 56 points and the Crimson Tide's frequency of scoring in the first half made for at least somewhat of an action-packed game.
Everyone — that is, except for Notre Dame fans — expected a rout by the defending champs, and that is exactly what they got. It was clear after the first two 'Bama possessions that there would be little fight in the Fighting Irish, and that against a grossly overmatched opponent, they would forever be relegated to being "Notre Lame."
But that's not to say there weren't some interesting moments during the game. Here are the top five moments as I saw them (in no particular order).
1. Brent Musburger gushing over A.J. McCarron's girlfriend.
Okay, so it's one thing to see a pretty girl and say, "She's a very beautiful young lady," and leave it at that. But it's another to go on endlessly about it, especially when you're old enough to be the chick's grandfather! That's what happened when Gushburger, er, Musburger and his sidekick Kirk Herbstreit had this to say about Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron's girlfriend Katherine Webb, a former Miss Alabama and, yes, a very beautiful young lady:
"You quarterbacks, you get all the good looking women," Musburger said. "What a beautiful woman!"
After both let out a couple of simultaneous wows and whoas, Herbie said, "A.J.'s doing some things right down in Tuscaloosa."
To which Musburger added, "If you're a youngster in Alabama, start getting the football out and throw it around the backyard with pop."
All right, boys, spray some cold water on your faces, get the director to kill the camera on the hottie and get back to calling the game. Even my wife and I looked at each other and commented about the duration of their admiration of Ms. Webb.
2. McCarron/Jones "love spat."
So, late in the game, Alabama had to burn a timeout when the quarterback and center Barrett Jones had a disagreement on the snap count, causing McCarron to bark at Jones and receive a two-handed chest shove in return. After the timeout, when showing the replay, the always descriptive Musburger called the incident a "love spat" between the two roommates.
Now, maybe I sound like I'm harping on Brent a little too much, but this guy's a consummate professional who doesn't normally put his foot in his mouth. However, he had a buffet of heels and toes during this broadcast, which is unusual for him. As a footnote to the incident, McCarron went over to Jones on the bench between offensive series and gave him a quick "man hug," and Jones said during a post-game interview that he "was right" regarding the disagreement.
3. Eddie Lacy's double-spin touchdown reception.
When Eddie Lacy scored Alabama's fourth touchdown of the first half, he looked like a video game figure on his way into the end zone. The Crimson Tide tailback took a short pass over the middle from McCarron at about the Notre Dame 12, made a nasty spin move at the five to make three Irish defenders miss, took a couple steps and then leaped and spun again at the goal line to make two other Irish defenders miss. To steal a quote from a SportsCenter anchor years ago, "That's the circle button on your PlayStation controller." Lacy did more in that short dozen-yard run than most backs do in an entire game. He's going to be a good one in the NFL and certainly deserved Offensive Player of the Game honors.
4. Deion Blue's swat of Everett Golson's fourth-down pass.
Early in the second quarter, Notre Dame looked as if though they might get into the end zone to pull within 21-7. On 4th-and-5 from the Alabama 39, Golson heaved a pass down the sideline to wide receiver T.J. Jones inside the Crimson Tide 10. But just when it appeared Jones would haul it in for an Irish first and goal, Tide cornerback Blue leaped at the last moment and swatted the ball away, thwarting the Irish threat. 'Bama wouldn't score again until Lacy's twisting reception near the end of the half, but that defensive play took away just about any momentum Notre Dame thought they might have been gaining in the first half.
5. Chance Warmack's "brick wall" block on Zeke Motta.
On a 3rd-and-3 play on Alabama's 48 late in the second quarter, Notre Dame safety Zeke Motta rushed the line of scrimmage on a delayed blitz. McCarron handed off to freshman running back T.J. Yeldon and just as Motta thought he had a beeline to the ballcarrier, he instead got knocked backward three yards and to the ground by a right arm block from Warmack. I didn't really notice it live, but when ESPN showed the replay of Yeldon's run for a first down, it was plain as day. Warmack saw Motta coming, planted his feet and brought up his right forearm. The next thing I saw was Motta stumbling back, falling on the ground and Yeldon running right through the spot where Motta used to be. It was one of the most impressive blocks I've ever seen, and it kept the 'Bama drive going that ended in Lacy's spectacular TD reception.
Bonus moment: The "old school" look of the game.
If anyone has read any of my previous articles, they've probably noticed that I'm sort of an "old school" fan of college football. After all, it's the tradition and pageantry of the game that makes it my favorite sport of all time; and everything about this game was appealing to me from that standpoint. Both teams wore their traditional uniforms — no souped-up, multicolored, Picasso-esque jersey or helmet patterns — just blue and gold, and crimson and white.
The game was also played on natural grass, which is almost becoming a novelty these days with many stadiums opting for Field Turf. And the match-up was between a team I've loved since I was a kid (Alabama) and a team that I've hated since I was a kid (Notre Dame). To have a championship game where, in my mind, it was the good guys against the bad guys was fun and provided me more interest than in some previous title games.
Although the game itself might have been a snoozer for the casual fan, a bitter disappointment for the Irish fan and a savored victory for the Crimson Tide fan, there were plenty of other things to keep an eye (or ear) on that ultimately made it a fun game to watch.