BIGGEST FIGHT OF THE NIGHT: Not between Alabama and Notre Dame but between Bama QB A.J. McCarron and his center Barrett Jones. Pushing and shoving each other over a failed snap count in front of a national television audience — when they were leading 42-14. The two, who are roommates on the road, later made up with hugs. After the game, Jones was asked by reporters about the very public dispute: “We’re both perfectionists... it was a misunderstanding, but I was right.”
MEANWHILE AT JOE’S STONE CRAB ON SOUTH BEACH: Joe’s Stone Crab lovers got a break on BCS Championship night from the typically brutal lines at the South Beach Mecca. With attention focused on the game across town at Sun Life Stadium, diners were seated immediately on Monday night, spared the typical 1-3 hour wait.
HOW MANY IN THE STANDS? Attendance for the BCS Championship game at Sun Life Stadium was 80,120. When was the last time the stadium was so packed? But the lopsided score sent scores of Notre Dame fans to the exist by the 3rd quarter.
FORGET THE GAME: WHO’S THAT GIRL? As the BCS Championship game grew stale at Sun Life Stadium with Alabama beating Notre Dame 28-0, interest — even from the ESPN announcers — turned to the stands where Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron girlfriend was sitting.
Why? Katherine Webb, 23 and 5’11, happens to be the reigning Miss Alabama.
Webb competed in the Miss USA Pageant, but was eliminated in the top 10.
“A beautiful woman,” a smitten announcer Brent Musburger declared to a national audience hungry for entertainment from the disappointing game. His interest turned Webb into an instant social media darling.
Within an hour of Musburger’s comment, Webb had acquired 60,000 new Twitter followers as she appeared on the national television several more times during the game — including every time Alabama scored.
Here’s her bio from the Miss USA Pageant website:
Webb was born in Montgomery, Alabama. She attended middle school and high school in Columbus, Georgia and graduated from Northside High School in 2007. She then attended Auburn University. She graduated from Auburn in May 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and Administration.
She currently a training director for Chick-fil-A and also models professionally for clients in Miami, New York and Atlanta.
In January 2012, Katherine was crowned Miss Alabama USA 2012.
HERE’S A FUN FACT VIA THE ORANGE BOWL COMMITTEE: Alabama is the second team to score a touchdown on each of its first three drives in a BCS Championship, joining the 2007 Florida Gators.
BAMA SCORES AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN: 21-0 Bama and Notre Dame is looking dazed.
HOW FAST WAS THAT ALABAMA SCORE?: It took the Tide only 2:57 seconds to score first. Fastest score since 2007 game.
EARLY KNOCK-DOWNS: A lot of falling down before the game. One of the paratrooper delivering the ball fell on his behind; a Notre Dame coach was knocked down by the running Irish as they ran out of the tunnel.
WHO WILL SING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM: The Zac Brown Band will do the honors. Half-time entertainment will be provided by the All-Star Invitational Band.
KICK-OFF IS 30 MINUTES AWAY - And Sun Life Stadium is packed with screaming fans dressed in Crimson and Irish green. The weather? South Florida perfect at 75 degrees. Temp in South Bend, Indiana: 31 degrees; in Tuscaloosa, Ala: 37 degrees.
MOST FANS AT STADIUM: By the colors and cheering, it appears there might be more Notre Dame than Crimson Tide fans at Sun Life Stadium. Nonetheless, the stadium has not housed this much excitement in a long time.
CELEBRITIES BEGIN TO ARRIVE: The first celebrity spotted at Sun Life Stadium? Actor Vince Vaughn, who is wearing Irish green and is strolling on the Notre Dame sideline.
TEAMS ARRIVE AT STADIUM: Both teams have arrived at the stadium; the Alabama buses pulled into the stadium first, followed by the Notre Dame buses.
THE TRAFFIC: The SunPass toll on northbound Interstate 95 on the way to Sun Life Stadium is up to $7, one of the highest fees for the express lane. More than two years ago, fans heading to a Monday night Dolphins game against the New England Patriots paid $7.10 to travel between the Airport Expressway junction and the Golden Glades Interchange — seven miles.
AT THE NOTRE DAME HOTEL: Guests at Notre Dame’s Miami headquarters, the Westin Diplomat hotel in Hollywood, have been particularly active and busy today — except for one group. Hotel General Manager Ed Walls says its high-profile guests, the Notre Dame football players, have been lying low. "The players have been relaxing and quiet today," he says. "So we haven’t seen them much." Earlier in the week, he says, the players were "very accessible and a really great bunch of kids. They’re well-behaved ... you can tell they’re paying attention to their coach." Fans, alumni, former players and others staying at the hotel have been buying merchandise and enjoying the sunny weather, Walls says. Chicago radio station WLS is broadcasting live from the hotel. If Notre Dame wins Monday night, Good Morning America will broadcast live from the Westin Diplomat Tuesday morning. "It’s just a lot of good buzz," Walls says.
THE ALABAMA BAR: Mike “Dawg” Arnold, general manager at Alabama Jacks near the Keys, said not much of the staff is from Alabama, but the original owner of the restaurant was. His nickname was "Alabama Jack." Said Arnold: “It’s been a blast. I think [the Alabama fans are] coming here for good luck. In the last three days, I’ll say it’s been for every one Irish fan, we had 100 Alabama fans. We’ve had a blast with it. All the fans have had a great time." The bar won’t be hosting a watch party because the hours are 11 to 7 p.m. The games starts at 8:30. Instead, there will be a party offsite for the staff.
THE NOTRE DAME BAR: Jason DeCastro, managing partner at Finnegan’s River on Brickell in downtown Miami, said he’s mainly seen Notre Dame fans with a smattering of Alabama supporters. Sunday night, the restaurant screened Rudy and about 250 people came.
Starting at 4 p.m. Monday, Finnegan’s will host the official alumni watch party with an anticipated crowd of up to 2,000. "Some people are here now,” DeCastro said. “They’re all decked out." DeCastro said the restaurant’s link to Notre Dame is its Irish affiliation, and a lot of members of the Notre Dame alumni association frequent the restaurant. "They reached out to us because of the sheer amount of people who were coming down without tickets. They wanted some place where people could go to watch the game."
SPORTS FIGURE IN THE HOUSE: Joe Theismann, former Notre Dame quarterback, is at Sun Life Stadium signing autographs and hanging out with fans. Theismann, who went on to play for the Washington Redskins before retiring after a horrific leg injury, predicted victory for his alma mater, 24-17. “That’s my story and I’m sticking with it,” he said.
IN MIAMI BEACH: The city remains crowded, said police spokeswoman Vivian Hernandez. "We have a lot of people out and about. I just left my office, and fans are out, walking off of Ocean Drive, Lincoln Road ... they’re both busy with fans," she said after 2 p.m. "They all have their team spirit, they either have Notre Dame or Alabama gear on. They’re here for the teams." More Beach officers are on the streets than usual. "They’re in their designated areas. They’re there for the ’just in case.’ As of now we’ve had no issues, the fans have been great and enjoyed the city. We want people to come to our city and enjoy themselves and for us to keep them safe." By Monday afternoon, Ocean Drive was reopened to regular traffic after a fan event on Sunday. Hernandez gave a few safety tips: "If you don’t know the area, go out in numbers. Ask an officer, be mindful of not having your purse toward the back, the regular safety tips. More importantly, enjoy the game and enjoy the city."
FATHER OF A PLAYER: Arturo Martinez of Pinecrest is the father of walk-on football player from Notre Dame who overcame cancer and was featured on the front page of Sunday’s Miami Herald. Martinez pulled into the West parking lot of Sun Life Stadium. He said the weather is beautiful, with just a couple of clouds hovering. "There are wall-to-wall people everywhere, and we’re still six hours to kickoff,’’ Martinez said. "A lot of people setting up for their tailgates, a lot of excitement, music playing everywhere. A lot of joy for all of us to be here.’’ Martinez said Sunday’s article "brought everyone out of the woodwork, and I wish I was technologically prepared to respond to these wonderful well-wishers. We were overwhelmed by the story.’’
THE WEATHER: Now that Big Game Day is here, will the weather cooperate? Forecasters think so. Rain chance is 20 percent chance Monday night, with partly cloudy skies and a possibility of isolated showers, according to the National Weather Service. Highs of 80 during the day will cool to 72 at night. Kickoff for the BCS championship is 8:30 p.m. at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. The forecast will be similar through the workweek, with highs in the low-80s and lows in the low-70s. Winds will pick up Tuesday night, with gusts 18-25 mph.
THE STORES: Fans are hungry. And they’re doing something about it. A Publix north of downtown Miami was packed during the lunch hour with Alabama and Notre Dame fans buying sandwiches, chips and beer for their tailgating pleasure. It wasn’t hard to spot them: Alabama fans wore red, Notre Dame fans were in blue.
This article will be updated as more information is available.