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The voice of the SEC’

Andrew Owens | Monday, December 24, 2012

Paul Finebaum’s daily radio show is a staple of the South’s passion for college football. Fans from all over the region – as well as other parts of the country now that the show is syndicated nationwide – give their two cents (and usually a little more) as Finebaum and his callers discuss the sport’s hot topics.

With the Jan. 7 BCS National Championship Game between No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama looming, the game has been dissected from every angle and, as is typical with any mention of Notre Dame, everyone has an opinion.

Here are some of the highlights from this week’s broadcasts:

Wednesday

Finebaum has yet to give a score prediction for the national championship game, but he indicated Wednesday he expects Alabama to win.

“You give [Alabama head coach Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart] this much time to get ready for a team … almost across the board they’ve been able to take away what that team does best,” said Finebaum, who pointed to last year’s championship game rematch between Alabama and LSU, a contest won by the Crimson Tide 21-0.

Later in the show, a truck driver from Atlanta called in to the program, and he had little respect for Notre Dame or its chances to compete with Alabama.

“We haven’t heard from Notre Dame fans in 25 years, and now they think they’re the top dog,” the caller said. “If it wasn’t for NBC ramming them down our throats every week, we wouldn’t hear from them at all [the past 24 years].”

Hugh, an Indiana resident, later called in, saying he was on a geographical island as a Crimson Tide fan who grew up in Alabama. He now finds himself trying to coexist with Irish fans.

“If [the game] doesn’t go well, I’m going to live in misery the next year,” he said.

Hugh added that he greeted his doctor with a “Roll Tide,” and his physician, an Irish fan, told him to leave (in jest).

Friday

With various NFL jobs beckoning, rumors continue to swirl regarding Saban’s future, and that discussion dominated much of the airwaves this week. Finebaum discussed a Yahoo! Sports report that cited one source on each side of the Saban-to-the-Cleveland-Browns rumor. One unidentified caller was distraught at the thought of a Saban departure. Finebaum expects Saban, who left LSU for the Miami Dolphins following the 2004 season, to remain at Alabama after the championship game, but said he thinks there must be something to the rumors “because they won’t go away.”

“[Saban is] a liar, and he’s been a liar everywhere he’s been,” the caller said. “You know you’re going to the pros and walk out on the Bamers (Alabama fans) and break the hearts of the children of Alabama.

“There will be crying in the streets and people will take their clothes off and run around naked. The Bamers will blame it on George Bush because it’s popular to blame it on George Bush. Paul, this will be your fault because you are the voice of the SEC.”

The interesting Notre Dame-related tidbit of Friday’s show was a lifelong Alabama fan who called in and recalled a sign a fan held at Alabama’s final home game of the 1966 season that read, “Ara plays to tie, Bear plays to win.”

In that 1966 season, Bear Bryant’s 11-0 Alabama squad finished 11-0 but was ranked third in the country behind No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Michigan State. The Irish and Spartans had just a week prior completed the famous 10-10 tie, known to this day as the ‘Game of the Century.’ Parseghian was criticized for a conservative approach to the game’s final minutes to preserve the tie, rather than go for the win and risk the loss.

Finebaum’s show runs from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time, and can be heard nationally on Sirius XM Radio or at MyFoxFinebaum.com

Contact Andrew Owens at aowens2@nd.edu