Update 1/8/2013: Sorry for the short summary above, but the game ended very late and traffic out of the stadium was horrible. As I sit here in the Miami Airport, here are the answers to the pregame questions:
Will Notre Dame be emotionally prepared to get off to a solid start in the game? No, the Irish were clearly not ready to play a game of this magnitude.
Can the Irish defenders tackle well enough to keep Lacy and Yeldon from breaking long runs? Not at all. The Irish were actually in position to make many tackles for limited yardage, but were not physically up to it.
Will McCarron hurt Notre Dame with screens and deep play action passes? The Irish handled the screens fairly well, but the deep and intermediate passes were wide open all night. McCarron had enough time in the pocket to wave to his hot girlfriend in the stands.
Which special teams will contribute a game-changing play? Almost, but the referees didn’t see it that way. Later in the game, the Irish special teams grew progressively worse.
Will the Irish score touchdowns or be forced to settle for field goals? Notre Dame scored touchdowns, but few people were still awake to see them.
Can Alabama effectively neutralize Manti Te’o? Manti Who?
Will Golson’s mobility be a difference maker for the Irish? Alabama’s puirsuit made even Golson look slow. He did manage to escape long enough to throw the ball away on a few occasions.
Which team will have the most energy in the fourth quarter? Saban was still coaching like a madman in the fourth quarter, but the most energy displayed during the period was the fight between McCarron and center Barrett Jones.
Thanks to the Irish for a great season and many more good memories than bad. Now, go and hit the weight room in the offseason, boys.