MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. —
The Crimson Tide will likely wrap up its 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 Sugar Bowl in which Ara Parseghian’s team edged Bear Bryant’s powerhouse 24-23.
Bryant won five AP titles during his brilliant career. The way things are going, Saban might just chase him down.
The diminutive man with the perpetual scowl has guided Alabama to the top spot in the rankings three times since arriving in Tuscaloosa in 2007, and if he’s serious about finishing his career with the job he has, there seems no reason he can’t win a few more before he’s done with “The Process.”
Already, Saban is the first coach in the BCS era to win national titles at different schools, capturing his first at LSU during the 2003 season. Now, he’s the first coach with back-to-back BCS titles, and given the youthfulness of his team, Alabama figures to go into next season as a heavy favorite.
In an interesting twist, Saban’s fourth college title came in the stadium where he had the only stumble of his coaching career, a two-year tenure with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins that ended ugly, with the coach insisting he wasn’t planning to leave — then bolting for Alabama just two weeks later. His tactics may have been underhanded, but it’s hard to argue with the call he made.
Before a record Sun Life Stadium crowd of 80,120 that definitely included more green than crimson, Lacy ran right through the Irish and their Heisman Trophy finalist Manti Te’o on a 20-yard touchdown run before the game was 3 minutes old, capping an 82-yard drive that was longest of the season given up by the Fighting Irish.