Ohio State couldn’t do it.
Oklahoma, Texas and Oregon — elite college football powers all of them — couldn’t either.
Notre Dame? Welcome to the club.
The Fighting Irish became the latest outsider to feel the sting of the Southeastern Conference in the national title game. Alabama continued the SEC’s run of gridiron dominance on Monday, defeating Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game at Sun Life Stadium, 42-14.
“S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!” fans chanted after Bama running back Eddie Lacy took a screen pass, spun past two Notre Dame defenders, and ran the ball in for a touchdown that gave Alabama a 28-0 lead just before halftime.
It was the seventh consecutive national title for an SEC member. The Crimson Tide have bagged three of the past four titles, firmly establishing Tuscaloosa as the motherland of the college football universe.
“It’s an extraordinary night and an extraordinary accomplishment by any measure,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said of the conference title run. “And for us to win seven in a row — they talk about records meant to be broken — but like Joe DiMaggio and 56 games, this is one that will never be broken.”
Since the Bowl Championship Series started in 1998, five different SEC teams — Alabama, Florida, LSU, Tennessee and Auburn — have accounted for nine of the 14 titles. (USC’s 2004 title was vacated).
The Big 12 has produced two champions during that time in Texas and Oklahoma. No other conference claims more than one.
The last time a non-SEC school won the national championship was 2006 when Texas, led by Vince Young, knocked off USC in an epic Rose Bowl.
Ever since, it’s been all SEC.
And the trend shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. According to ESPN’s RecruitingNation, six of the top 12 recruiting classes belong to SEC teams. Twelve of the conference’s 14 members — everyone except Kentucky and Arkansas — are ranked among the top 36 recruiting classes.
Notre Dame can take some consolation in having the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation, according to ESPN.
But the No.1 team in the country going into Monday’s showdown — previously unbeaten Notre Dame — failed to finish on top as second-ranked Alabama won its second consecutive national championship and the school’s 10th since 1936.
Like Alabama’s two previous title wins in 2010 and ’12, Monday’s blowout was no contest.
When Notre Dame finally got on the board with four minutes to go in the third quarter, Alabama had gone 117 consecutive minutes in title games — all the way back to their 2010 win over Texas — without allowing a point.
Outside of the 2011 game, when Auburn squeezed out a 22-19 win over Oregon, none of the seven contests won by SEC teams has been close, with the average margin of victory in those games being 17 points.
Despite losses by No. 3 Florida and No. 8 LSU, Alabama’s victory on Monday gave the SEC a record of 6-3 this bowl season. All nine conference schools that played in bowls were favored.
The price of failure in the highly competitive conference? Heads roll.
Of the five SEC schools that didn’t play in a bowl, four changed coaches after the season. One of those was Auburn, which fired Gene Chizik only two years after he brought a national title to the school.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s job is not only secure for the long-term, but so is his stature as one of the greatest head coaches in college football history. Monday’s victory gave him his fourth national title, three with Alabama. The other school he led to college football glory?
LSU — an SEC team, of course.