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Combing through the debris field

Well, that was ... instructive.

Alabama 42, Notre Dame 14 in the BCS title game, and here comes the requisite cliche: It wasn't that close. It was, after all, 42-14 midway through the fourth quarter. Anyone think 'Bama couldn't have tacked on a couple more scores had it gotten in its head to do so?

So, what do you take away from it, if you're of the Domer persuasion?

You take away that this is the season Notre Dame learned what it takes to get to the national title game, and that last night it learned what it takes to win one.

You take away that the talent level still isn't where it needs to be, given the way Alabama's offensive line completely dominated Notre Dame's vaunted defensive front seven, the heart and soul of the Irish program. And that that in turn exposed a defensive backfield everyone knew wasn't top shelf.

You take away that game-planning for a Division II title game is not the same as game-planning for a BCS title game, which means Brian Kelly needs to step it up, too. Continually attacking the Alabama D-backs deep was not only foolhardy, it was out of character for a Notre Dame offense that got where it was with balance -- i.e., setting up the pass with the run and vice-versa. Putting it all on the shoulders of a still-developing young quarterback wasn't sound strategy. It wasn't what got Notre Dame there, and in a game of this magnitude, doing what got you there is Job One.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, it was a great play. Now it's time to go back to work.

Ben Smith's blog.