"Northwestern fans can be both heartened and disheartened by the loss to Minnesota just like how nineteenth-century resurrectionists were heartened when they pried a heart from a freshly-buried corpse and then disheartened it when they sold it to a disreputable anatomist."
Not a lot of personal input into this diary, but with Brian's front Picture Pages asking who the option read was there has been some confusion of which play is what. It's impossible to know what the play call is on any given down, and Bama did blow up just about everything, but I thought I'd post some diagrams showing what various teams do. Please chime in as well with different names for plays, as different coaches call the same play by different names.
All kinds of information (these pictures) can be found here: http://smartfootball.com/tag/option
Play 1: Zone Read (Read Option)
The offensive line zone blocks and leaves one defensive end (circled) unblocked. The QB then looks to see what this end does. The end picks one player and the QB's job is to make sure the other player has the ball.
There are variations on this (bubble screens etc) that are very nuanced and again, Chris Brown goes over them here http://smartfootball.com/run-game/the-zone-read-gun-triple-option-and-the-quadruple-option
Play 2: DT Read Option (Midline Option)
Very similar play, but here a DT is left unblocked. Lots of teams do this against stud DTs (Oregon optioned off Glenn Dorsey some)
Play 3 - Inverted Veer
The big differences here are that you now have a pulling guard and you leave someone unblocked playside. http://smartfootball.com/run-game/what-is-the-inverted-veer-dash-read
Michigan used this play to dismantle OSU last year as Brian pointed out here: http://mgoblog.com/content/picture-pages-inverted-veer-ftw
Typically your pulling guard and playside tackle would both serve as lead blockers on the 2nd level, but as noted elsewhere Borges and Hoke don't like leaving linemen unblocked. What worked against OSU was the LBs getting caught in the wash and Denard being awesome. I can't find an exact diagram of how we draw it up, but they still option off a DL, then get blocks elsewhere.
So how did Bama blow this up completely? Do we need to worry about teams doing this in the future? By being way more talented and maybe. What Bama did was "absorb" blockers and control them. Hopkins can't block #1, who forces a give. Omameh and Schofield are stuck double teaming DTs and can't get to the next level. Barnum is beat to the hole. If this was a true read play (I dont' know, and as mentioned, the coached don't like unblocked DLs) Hopkins should be on the 2nd level as well.
Do we need to worry about other teams doing this? Maybe, but I don't know who else will have the talent to. If a DL tries to pick off the lead blocker AND force a give, AND 2 DL force double teams so that our OL can't get to the 2nd level AND their LBs beat our pulling guard to the hole... then yes, we're in trouble. I don't think the talent disparity will be as big in future games. If it is, our option game will get blown up.