MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Forget Notre Dame gold, because Alabama took home crystal.
The Crimson Tide hammered the Irish 42-14 in the BCS National Championship Game, winning the crystal football trophy for the second straight season and third time in four years.
Only two other college football programs have finished on top of the national polls three times in a four-year span: Notre Dame in 1946-49 and Nebraska in 1994-97.
Even so, good luck in getting Alabama coach Nick Saban to think much about that at the moment, however. Even though a tired Saban swore afterward "I'm happy as hell" about the championship, he hardly wanted to mull over what he and his team have done.
"One of these days when I'm sitting by the side of the hill watching the stream go by, I'll think about it then," Saban said. "But for now ... what about next year's team?"
Alabama has a chance to reach rare air next season, as no college team has won three straight national poll championships. He also has four national titles as a coach, including one at LSU. That's only two fewer than legendary Bear Bryant won in his career.
Notre Dame once was the king of college football, but the Irish haven't won a national title in 1988. They denied Alabama an Associated Press national title in 1973 with a one-point victory over the Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl.
In this one, Alabama ran over Notre Dame, leading by 35 points on two occasions in the second half.
"What Coach Saban has done is consistently put together elite programs at Alabama," Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said.
He added, "They played the game. They played it better than we did. Alabama was the better football team."
Alabama junior Eddie Lacy won the game's most valuable player honors. A running back, he rushed for 140 yards on 20 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns.
However, senior center Barrett Jones came out of this one as perhaps the most accomplished player in Crimson Tide history. He is the only player to start in three BCS National Championship Game victories, including 2010 over Texas, 2012 over LSU and Monday night.
He did it despite playing hurt. He revealed afterward he tore ligaments in his left foot in the Dec. 1 win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. He received a cortisone shot in his foot and will undergo surgery today.
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