Everybody else already has weighed in, and I might be the only self-styled Opinion-Monger whose laptop has been strangely silent on the subject: Who will win the BCS National Championship game? Oh, there have been wonderful essays, remembrances and downright literary tomes written on the game between Alabama and Notre Dame. So much so that my humble effort probably would mimic something else that already has been written, which would make me less a pundit than a plagiarist. Don’t believe me? Take a look:
Sports Illustrated took its customary in-depth view when it posed the question: which team has more national championships and then answers its own question with "Princeton with 28." Of course, most of the Tigers' titles came before President Theodore Roosevelt warned college football to clean up its injury act or face abolishment. Wow, kind of sounds like Roger Goodell, doesn't it? The actual answer, at least as far as the number of titles boasted by each school is Alabama 14 and Notre Dame 11, but that includes the 1930 season which both schools claim.
As SI reported: In this season, most of the readers of the nation's leading newspapers would have picked Notre Dame as the national champ because they read so much about the Irish. Of course, it wasn't just the sportswriters. Legendary coach Glenn "Pop" Warner said ND of 1930 deserves to be listed as "the greatest football squad of all time." Alabama of the Southern Conference was more of a curiosity then, but made a solid claim in the postseason. The Dickinson System, published before the bowls, ranked 10-0 Notre Dame No. 1, 9-0 Washington State No. 2 and 9-0 Alabama No. 3. In the Rose Bowl, Alabama crushed Washington State, 24-0, and claimed the championship. But so did undefeated Notre Dame which did not play in a bowl.
The best coverage of the matchup by one publication has been the Wall Street Journal which devoted its Saturday feature section to a raft of football stories, most with business angles. One story stated Alabama is the "pre-eminent institution in a state with no major professional sports team and just a single Fortune 500 company." For the record, that would be Regions Bank, 343 on the Fortune list. The WSJ also published a story on the fact the Irish are so non-promotional of the Catholic faith that players of other faiths feel welcome, as best exemplified by its Heisman Trophy runner-up, LB Manti Te'o, who is a Mormon from Samoa.
Of course, other stories appealed to a much lower brow such as the one from a website titled "15 Reasons to Hate Alabama or Notre Dame." But Yahoo Sports claims hate is a one-way street because "Alabama's hatred of Notre Dame runs deep." Nick Infante of College Athletics Clips stays on the love-hate subject, pointing out two articles from the Sunday New York Times. He calls one article about love for the Irish "an eloquent sonnet of fondness," while the other one about hatred for the Irish is "a vicious rant of incivility."
The moralists among us also had to take their shots. Frank Deford on National Public Radio talked about the NCAA's lament that gambling hurts sports despite its obvious benefits at providing another reason for us to watch. The Associated Press also plays the Grinch by writing about how steroids are still around college football, despite claims to the contrary.
Which just about takes up all my space, folks, and I still haven't written anything about the Big Game. Which is just as well. Let it be an exciting game with no injuries. For the record, Alabama 24 Notre Dame 13. Enjoy!
His new book, "Where the Water Kept Rising," is now available in local bookstores, at Amazon.com and at his website: www.JWMillerSports.com