2:49 AM, Jan. 10, 2012
Column by Mark Edwards
Special to the Advertiser

NEW ORLEANS -- We never should've doubted Nick Saban. He promised this would happen.

About a week after Alabama won a national championship in 2009, the Crimson Tide celebrated with a pep rally, and Saban said, "I want everybody here to know, this is not the end. This is the beginning."

It's awfully hard to win a national championship, but apparently it isn't when you're Alabama and have someone like Saban coaching your team. Poke fun all you want at his personality and how a school shouldn't pay its football coach millions of dollars, but if you want to win big, he's worth the $5 million a year.

That championship in 2009 really was just the beginning. Alabama proved it by making it back to this year's BCS national championship game and punching out big, bad LSU 21-0 on Monday night.

This might not be the end, either. Alabama will return enough talent to make a solid run at next year's championship, too. In fact, wouldn't it be fun if the Crimson Tide makes it back again 12 months from now and faces the team that likely will be the 2012 preseason No.1 -- Southern California, another traditional power.

But next season is next season. Let's talk about Monday night.

Alabama created controversy by committing the sin of qualifying for this game. Critics didn't want a rematch for the national title. They thought Oklahoma State got slighted after winning the Big 12 championship and losing only once. In the end, the BCS got it right. Alabama deserved to be here. Who would say differently? Do you honestly think No. 3 Oklahoma State could've hung with what the Crimson Tide put on LSU?

LSU had a really good team. Really good. The Bengal Tigers even were better than that Miami team Alabama drilled on this same field 19 years ago. And yet LSU's offense didn't cross midfield until the fourth quarter. That gives you an idea of how impressive the Crimson Tide's performance was. Although the score might not show it, this was the type of domination that Saban says he wants from his team every day, every week ... and, well, you get the idea.