x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Dominant Alabama coach looks to future after routing Notre Dame in Bowl Championship Series

Nick Saban is already focusing on the next championship after the Crimson Tide washed away Notre Dame 42-14 in the title match.

Alabama Crimson Tide's head coach Nick Saban holds up The Coaches Trophy after they defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Alabama Crimson Tide's head coach Nick Saban holds up The Coaches Trophy after they defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Barely taking time to enjoy their latest national championship, Nick Saban and the University of Alabama Crimson Tide are ready to get back to work.

That may be how they make it look so easy.

In what must be an increasingly frustrating scene for the rest of American college football, another season ended with Saban and his players celebrating in the middle of a confetti-strewn field.

Eddie Lacy ran largely unchecked, the quarterback AJ McCarron turned in another dazzling performance through the air, and the Alabama defence shut down Notre Dame's Fighting Irish until the outcome was no longer in doubt.

The result was a 42-14 rout in the Bowl Championship Series title game on Monday night, not only making Alabama a back-to-back champions but a dynasty in the making, with three titles in four years.

This one was especially satisfying to Saban, the coach.

"People talk about how the most difficult thing is to win your first championship," he said. "Really, the most difficult one to win is the next one, because there's always a feeling of entitlement."

Rest assured, that feeling will not last long for his players.

Saban says he was "happy as hell" and "has never been prouder of a group of young men", but it was hard to tell. He was already talking about reporting to the office and getting started on next season.

"One of these days, when I'm sitting on the side of the hill watching the stream go by, I'll probably figure it out even more," Saban said. "But what about next year's team? You've got to think about that, too."

In short order, he will be talking with underclassmen about entering the NFL draft, making sure everyone goes back to class on schedule, and getting started on that next depth chart.

"The process is continuing," said Saban, as tight-lipped as ever and showing little emotion after the fourth national title of his coaching career. "We have a 24-hour rule around here. We enjoy everything for 24 hours."

Alabama, now 13-1, entered the game ranked No 2 but overpowered the previously undefeated (12-0) and top-ranked Notre Dame, and led 28-0 at half time. Alabama made it 35-0 in the third quarter on the third of McCarron's four touchdown passes, a 34-yarder to Amari Cooper.

Alabama wrapped up their ninth Associated Press national title, breaking a tie with Notre Dame for the most by any school and gaining a measure of redemption for a bitter loss to the Irish almost four decades ago: the epic 1973 Sugar Bowl in which Ara Parseghian's team edged Bear Bryant's powerhouse 24-23.

"We've got to get physically stronger, continue to close the gap there," said Brian Kelly, the Notre Dame coach.

"Just overall, we need to see what it looks like. Our guys clearly know what it looks like now - a championship football team. That's back-to-back national champions. That's what it looks like.

"That's what you measure yourself against there. It's pretty clear across the board what we have to do."

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