FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — There is no end in sight, not for Alabama or the Southeastern Conference.
The Crimson Tide made it two straight national championships and three in four years on Monday night. It can be argued that it’s the greatest run in college football history, but as with so many things in college football, that’s difficult to quantify. Suffice to say, if you’re putting together a short list, what the Tide has done under coach Nick Saban has a spot on it.
With its 42-14 dismantling of Notre Dame at Sun Life Stadium, the Crimson Tide also put another notch in the Southeastern Conference’s belt. The conference of college football has won seven straight titles now, almost half of them by Alabama.
“The fact that a conference can win seven national championships in football in a row, and with four different teams, is extraordinary,” Commissioner Mike Slive said Monday. “It’s something you could never predict or anticipate no matter what you were thinking about.”
In the final AP Top 25, released in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, five of the first 10 teams were from the SEC. That had never happened before, so yet another first for the league that seems to be playing a different game — at least at the very top of the league — than everybody else.
Notre Dame, a fine team that was clearly a year ahead of schedule and the beneficiary of some good fortune this season, looked so outclassed by the Tide it was hard not to wonder: “What’s the point?” Just hand out the crystal football after the SEC title game in Atlanta.
Maybe Oregon would have given the Tide a better run. Throughout this era of SEC domination, the Ducks came closest to breaking the streak, losing to Auburn on a last-play field goal after the 2010 season. If a poll was taken of people who follow college football closely this season, not those starry-eyed over the big name brands, Ducks-Tide was probably the matchup most wanted to see in the title game.