In the current issue of ESPN The Magazine, we provide a peek into the effects of the long layoffs for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Alabama Crimson Tide between the end of their regular seasons and Monday night's BCS title game, 45 days for the Irish and 38 for the Tide.
The people I talked to, many of whom have been there and done that, provided a ton of insight on the topic, revealing a few common patterns of thought. Chief among them? Walking onto the field after so much time off is like strolling onto another planet, no matter who you are.
"The experience is unique, intense and a little dangerous," admits Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who led Florida to BCS titles in the 2006 and 2008 seasons after 38- and 34-day layoffs. "The gravity of it all can't be avoided, even if you've been there before."
What else did those in the know have to say? We weren't able to hit it all in The Mag, so I've dug out the notebook and dumped it out for you here, the first 2013 edition of our weekly top 5 list, the most likely effects of the long pre-BCS layoff.
1. Offenses will drag early
This seems like a no-brainer because the two combatants are programs built on the defensive side of the ball. However, it doesn't seem to matter who you are or how explosive you might be, a championship game offensive slowdown is inevitable.
It's a trend that has its roots in the very first BCS-arranged national championship game, a sloppy 23-16 affair between what were supposed to be the well-oiled offenses of Tennessee and Florida State. While there have certainly been some high-scoring affairs in the dozen title games since, rarely if ever do those points come in the first half.
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