David J. Phillip, Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS — As required, Alabama's players whooped it up amid the confetti and fireworks, yet there was something muted about this championship celebration.
Turns out, these guys knew the ending to the sequel before they even got to the Big Easy.
For two months, the Crimson Tide stewed over its first meeting with top-ranked LSU. By the time the team touched down in New Orleans, there was little doubt in anyone's mind about the outcome. Not just win, but dominate.
Boy, did they ever.
With a smothering display of old-school football, No. 2 Alabama blew out the Tigers 21-0 in the BCS championship game Monday night, celebrated a bit and headed back to Tuscaloosa with its second national title in three years.
Straight-laced coach Nick Saban accepted the trophies Tuesday morning and confessed that he might have savored it more than the title two years ago in Pasadena, Calif.
"To be honest with you, I think I maybe did," said Saban, sporting a black sweater with patches of crimson on the shoulders and flanked by the hardware. "This team was a special team, not that the 2009 team was any different. It's certainly an honor and privilege to be with a group that made the kind of commitment that you look for from a competitive character standpoint."
The Crimson Tide also claimed the top spot in the final Associated Press poll for the eighth time, tying Notre Dame for the most of any team in college football. Alabama was an overwhelming choice with 55 of 60 first-place votes.
"We knew what we were capable of," offensive lineman Barrett Jones said. "I guess that's kind of arrogant, but it's the way we felt. We felt like we were capable of dominating, and we did that."
Credit one of the greatest defenses in college football history, a bunch of NFL-ready players such as Courtney Upshaw and Dont'a Hightower who made sure LSU (13-1) never had a chance.
When Jordan Jefferson dropped back to pass, he was swept under by a tide of crimson. When the LSU quarterback took off running, he must've felt like Alabama had a few extra players on the field. It sure seemed that way.
"It feels like a nightmare," Jefferson said. "We just didn't get it done on offense. Some defenses have your number, and Alabama had our number."
LSU beat the Crimson Tide (12-1) in overtime on Nov. 5, a so-called Game of the Century that was roundly criticized as a dud because neither team scored a touchdown.
The Rematch of the Century was next, after Alabama worked its way back up to second in the rankings to claim a spot in the BCS title game. Turns out, it was even less of a classic than the first meeting, much closer to "Speed 2" than the "Godfather II."
But the Alabama defense was a thing of beauty, putting its own spin on this postseason of high-scoring shootouts.
"They are unbelievable," said Jones, relieved that he only has to go against them in practice. "That defense is as good as any defense I've ever seen. They rush the passer, they have awesome linebackers and they're great in coverage. They really don't have any weaknesses. They have to be as good as any defense ever."
LSU didn't cross midfield until there were less than 8 minutes remaining in the game. The Tigers finished with just 92 yards and five first downs, on the wrong end of the first shutout in the BCS' 14-year history.
"This defense is built on stopping them, and that's what we did," said Upshaw, the game's defensive MVP. "We wanted to come out and show the world we beat ourselves the first game. We wanted to come out and dominate from start to finish, and that's what we did."
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