NEW ORLEANS – It is just a different world they live in down here. A world where touchdowns and quarterbacks are optional, certainly not required. A world where the family budget is busted for $350 tickets to watch a kicking contest.
A world where football and Nick Saban are king. In an age of parity, Alabama has done to college football what Saban would like to do to the media now and then.
Apply a choke hold.
That gasping you heard from LSU Monday night at the BCS championship game was rematch revenge. This time it counted. This is what we’re left in a two-game series that was split and a season that, elsewhere, was fractured.
Might as well fracture it one more time. Alabama became the first team to win a national championship without winning its conference.
Another first in the BCS era. A shutout.
You noticed that, did you? It many ways the rematch was a replay. In the teams’ two games there have been 10 field goals. Alabama got five of them from Jeremy Shelley on Monday. That was all the offense that was needed. Trent Richardson ran for the only touchdown in the two games of the century just for the heck of it.
Maybe it was fitting in a season that distracted us from football, that even football couldn’t save us. The only constant was Saban, a iconic coach who has not only rigged the system, he has defined the system.
Alabama won its eighth national championship Monday in the BCS championship game the only way it could. With Bear Bryant-quality defense. It almost seemed like Saban mandated it. Every recruiting class he has had since coming to LSU in 2000 has experienced a national championship. That would be 2003 with the Tigers and 2009 and this season in 2011 with a Miami Dolphins dalliance in between.
This makes it two in three years for the Tide. At least 44 players now have two championship rings.
You want to win? You come to Alabama. It doesn't matter how it looks. Those deep-throated Tide fans who matched LSU's homestanding crowd 50/50 in the Superdome split didn't give a rip. The linebackers -- Courtney Upshaw, Nico Johnson, Dont'a Hightower and Jerrell Harris -- played themselves into legend status Monday harassing Jordan Jefferson all night.
LSU didn't cross the 50 until eight minutes remained. The Tigers’ biggest offensive play may have been Jefferson's tackle of Moseley. Moseley intercepted Jefferson who then took down the sophomore linebacker who seemed to injured his right knee.
Didn't matter, Bama won missing its leading receiver -- Marquis Maze, injured early -- and one of its best linebackers. It won with Saban who knows the only currency that counts in the SEC is defense.