MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- The coach no longer wears houndstooth. The result is the same. Another Alabama dynasty.
Quieting the Irish by the first play of the second quarter, Eddie Lacy, A.J. McCarron and the No. 2 Crimson Tide rolled top-ranked Notre Dame 42-14 for the BCS championship Monday night, locking up a second straight national title and third in four years with another laugher of a title game.
The Bear would've been especially proud of this one -- Nick Saban and the Tide romping to the second-biggest rout of the BCS era, which began in 1999.
Lacy, the game's offensive MVP, ran for one touchdown and caught a pass for another in the final minute of the opening half, spinning away from the vaunted Notre Dame defense not once, but twice, to cap a 28-0 blitz before the bands even got on the field.
Never miss a local story.
Lacy finished with 140 yards on 20 carries, coming up with two of his best performances in the two biggest games of the year. He rushed for a career-high 181 yards in a thrilling victory over Georgia in the SEC title game, and was nearly as dominant against the Irish. McCarron wasn't too shabby, either, completing 20 of 28 passes for four touchdowns and 264 yards, adding another dazzling effort on top of his MVP in last year's title game.
You could almost hear television sets around the country flipping to other channels, a hugely anticipated matchup between two of the nation's most storied programs reduced to nothing more than the second straight BCS blowout for the Crimson Tide.
"We've had a lot of really great football players who've worked really hard," Saban said. "Because we've had a great team, we've been able to have a significant amount of success."
Alabama (13-1) scored 69 straight points against its title game opponents, going back to getting the final 13 against Texas in 2010, followed by a stifling 21-0 victory over LSU for last year's crown, then scoring the first 35 points on Notre Dame.
Saban's team made the Irish (12-1) look like a squad that would be hard-pressed to finish in the middle of the pack in the mighty Southeastern Conference, which has now won seven straight national championships.
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.
The Irish finally scored late in the third quarter, a 2-yard run by Everett Golson that served no other purpose except to end Alabama's remarkable scoreless streak in the BCS title games, which stretched to 108 minutes and 7 seconds -- the equivalent of nearly two full games -- before the Notre Dame quarterback fought his way into the end zone.
Good thing a four-team playoff is coming with the 2014 season.
About the only time Alabama stumbled was when McCarron had a miscommunication with his All-America center, Barrett Jones, in the closing seconds. The fiery McCarron shouted at Jones, who just shoved him away. But as the seconds ticked off, they were right on the same page, hugging Saban and celebrating another title.
Notre Dame made tremendous strides under Kelly, going from unranked in the preseason to the top spot in the rankings by the end of the regular season. But that long-awaited championship will have to wait at least one more year.
Golson completed his first season as the starter by going 21 of 36 for 270 yards with a touchdown and an interception. But he got no help from the running game, which was held to 32 yards -- 170 below its season average.
Kelly had vowed this was only beginning, insisting the bar has been raised in South Bend no matter what the outcome.
No one sets its higher than the folks in Tuscaloosa.