Congratulations on your most recent title. I don't know exactly what other ND fans have said (or that you'd care) but I wanted to mention a few things from the perspective of a ND fan who attended the game and spent the weekend in South Beach.
- any ND fan that makes reference to the referees playing a role in that game is crazy. That was an epic physical pounding. Were there a couple calls that ND could have gotten or maybe even should have gotten? Probably. But who cares. That happens to every team in every game. Championship teams deal with tough breaks and get the job done regardless - that's what Alabama did.
- I don't think ND played particularly well but that had plenty to do with Alabama. Even if ND played significantly better, got every "questionable" call and maybe a couple other breaks, that would mean....they would have lost by 2TDs instead of 4. Maybe.
- the Alabama fans I met before, during and after the game were fantastic, with a few expections (but that's to be expected with any fan base that size). Frankly, given the severity of that thrashing, I was a bit surprised. I will say that I had really nice seats (club level, ND sideline) so maybe I was less likely to meet random guys looking to pick a fight. But, still, most people I met were knowledgable, kind and excited - just what you'd want to see.
- one small story to illustrate the point above: I was walking down the street in the middle of south beach after the game (just trying to get back to my hotel, obviously) when I saw two Alabama fans standing toe to toe screaming in each other's faces. As I got closer I realized what the argument was about.... One guy was furious at the other for taunting ND fans and essentially picking fights. He was screaming things like, "show some class" ; "don't ruin this for the rest of us" ; "why can't you just celebrate our win?" and, my favorite, "I'm not getting arrested because you're a redneck."
- saw Barrett Jones with his family in the airport on Tuesday. He was about 5 feet away from me. Kid could barely walk. We made dead eye contact and then he looked down at the giant leprachaun on my shirt....looked back up and sort of shrugged and half smiled. I gave him a little golf clap and he responded with a slightly broader smile and humble nod. Good kid.
I could say more about the game, etc but they are things you already know - mainly, the fact that Alabama dished out savage beatings from beginning to end all over the field.
I've enjoyed my time on this board in recent weeks. Not sure I'll be around too much more in the near future so I wanted to say goodbye and thanks. Hope to see you all again at next year's title game. Given the way this year's version went, I'm sure you'd be just fine with that.