There was a lot of strength of schedule discussion, and I was irritated by Sagarin waiting to update until after the title game. From what I can tell, the SEC leapfrogged the Big 12 and Alabama leapfrogged Notre Dame in SoS prior to the title game: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin.htm
This is how SoS works, it tells you the most at the latest point. The SEC jumped the Big 12 by about the same margin they were ahead prior to the bowl games. This helped push Alabama's SoS up to 19th, and ahead of Notre Dame who has an SoS of 21 now (which was mainly pushed up because they played Alabama). Sagarin has a good grasp of things, ranking Oregon second (but a distant second due to an SoS of 38), followed by Texas A&M, Georgia, and then Notre Dame. The SEC yet again proved their dominance, fairing far better than any other BCS conference in the bowl games.
The media seems to have done an about face. I see a lot of glowing comments about Alabama, which I guess they have to after they spent their time talking up Notre Dame. I was listening to the Dan Patrick show (he had a good interview with Nick Saban), and he was quite flattering to the program.
I did see a completely disrespectful and annoying article by Mark Schlabach: http://espn.go.com/college-football/...llege-football
He basically said we should have had a playoff and a match-up of Oregon vs. Alabama since that would have been more entertaining. I don't like the idea of the upcoming playoffs, but come on now. Is it really supposed to be for entertainment purposes? Notre Dame was undefeated, they beat two teams that would have otherwise been in contention, and on top of that one of those teams beat Oregon. Oregon didn't deserve a title shot, it's as simple as that. Notre Dame belonged there, they earned it, like them or not. On the flip side, Alabama was the top contender. They deserved to be there on the merit of an SEC championship, and being defending champions. It irritates me to see anyone suggest we didn't see the two most deserving teams play each other.
A lot of people are pretending Notre Dame is back now. I don't really see it though. Their roster lists 29 seniors, and while those are not all scholarship players, that's a heck of a lot. It includes some of their bigger names (such as Manti Te'o). It's hard to imagine you lose that many seniors, and come back and contend right away. I'd say they got there because of senior leadership. Sure, they have a great incoming recruiting class, but they don't have Saban.
Alabama on the other hand only has 17 seniors listed and while some of those are important, it's not something they can't overcome. They are losing key parts of the offensive line, and I think special teams is a bit of a concern with Shelley and Tinker graduating. The injured players returning will offset a lot of those losses though, and another great recruiting class will have some instant contributors in it as well.
If AJ and CJ return, as it appears they will, I think Alabama is the top contender next year. There's a lot between now and then, and as always a single injury can derail a season. But, this shouldn't have been Alabama's year. This was a young team on defense, and a team that lost some key pieces on offense. This is a testament to what Nick Saban has built at Alabama and I hope the fans show up for A-Day and show their appreciation. This is something special and it doesn't end here.