2009 BCS Championship Early
5 Big Storylines For Bama-Texas
TCU and Cincinnati each have a legitimate beef in the national title debate, but Texas survived the Big 12 Championship and will play Alabama for the national championship. With a month to breakdown, analyze, and overanalyze the matchup of big-name superpowers, here’s your first look at what to care about with the five biggest early storylines for your 2010 BCS Championship.
1. The Texas offense vs. Nebraska and the Texas defense vs. Texas A&M
The Texas defense might have been dominant against a miserable Nebraska offense, holding it to just 106 yards, but it had its struggles over the previous three games against three bad teams. Texas A&M is bowl bound and game up with 532 yards of total offense in the Thanksgiving shootout, but Baylor and Kansas aren’t going near a bowl and were able to throw reasonably well. To be fair and accurate, the 240 yards through the air by the Bears and the 256 by the Jayhawks came in desperation mode in blowouts, but they were still yards against a D that’s trying to be dominant week after week; Will Muschamp won’t settle for anything less.
But on the flip side is the Texas offense that was stopped almost cold by Nebraska and struggled in the two other games this year against halfway defense defenses, gaining just 275 yards against Oklahoma State and 269 against Oklahoma. Against Alabama, everything has to work or else it’ll be the SEC Championship Part II. The Tide has the defense to pull a Nebraska and the offense to pull a Texas A&M , everyone knows this, and that includes Alabama … and Texas. It’s a long, long> time before the game, and every day more and more people will disrespect the Longhorns and will assume a Bama blowout. How’d that work out the last time an angry and focused Texas played in Pasadena?
2. Maybe, just maybe, Florida sucks.
In hindsight, the SEC Championship should’ve been sniffed out. It was just assumed that Tim Tebow was Tim Tebow and he doesn’t lose games like that, but it was slightly glossed over in all the analysis that the Florida receivers were merely average and that the Gator offense revolved completely and totally around dives and inside pitches that weren’t going to work against the Tide.
Alabama at least had a win over Virginia Tech on the résumé along with the rest of the SEC schedule. Florida only had one win over a team in the top 25 going into weekend (at LSU) was truly impressive against just one relatively decent team, Georgia, and, against looking back with 20/20 vision (especially considering we picked the Gators to win) were just begging to be tagged. Remember, Alabama needed everything in the bag to get by Auburn and Tennessee and were being pushed by Virginia Tech and Kentucky before Mr. Ingram took over in each game. In other words, don’t make the mistake of assuming Bama is going to win this because of the SEC Championship performance. Remember, Florida looked like a world-beater against Florida State while the Tide was limping into Atlanta after the win over Auburn.
3. The run defenses.
12 tackles, 4.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss. That’s the havoc that Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh wreaked on the slightly-above-average Texas offensive front as part of nine sacks of Colt McCoy. Suh is the best defensive tackle in college football, and it’s flip-a-coin debate about the No. 2 man between Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy and Alabama’s Terrence Cody. The two have completely different games than Suh; they’re not the same sort of pass rusher and are asked to do more as anchors than as disruptive forces. However, McCoy had a nice game against the Longhorns with two tackles for loss and a sack, and Cody might be in for a mega-night if the Big 12 Championship was any indication. He’s not going to put up big stats, but Texas isn’t going to budge him an inch, which means the running game that went nowhere against Nebraska might hit a brick wall against the nation’s No. 2 run defense. Who’s No. 1? Texas, allowing fewer than 65 rushing yards per game and five touchdowns (bur four came in the last five regular season games).
4. The next two-time national title-winning coach will be … ?
It’ll be either Mack Brown or Nick Saban who’ll join a very select fraternity of coaches as two-time winners. With Bobby Bowden retiring, Joe Paterno, Urban Meyer, Dennis Erickson and Pete Carroll (although he only has one BCS ring) are the only coaches with two national championships. A win for Brown would put him one behind the legendary Darrell Royal in terms of major, acknowledged national titles, and while a win for Saban wouldn’t get him into Bear territory, it would make him a Bama legend and put him among the greatest of SEC coaches. This might not be the last go-round for either one, but winning national titles is hard. Just ask Jim Tressel, Bob Stoops, and this year, Meyer and Carroll.
5. If the SEC wins this …
The league gets an even further free pass over the next several seasons. Already acknowledged as the best conference in college football, even in a down year overall with teams like Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn, and LSU not quite at the level they’re supposed to be, a win by the Tide would then make for several interesting debates in the near future. Should a one-loss SEC team get a shot at the national title over unbeatens? How about two losses? With a Bama win, the SEC will have won five of the last six national championships and four in a row. And not only that, in recent years Ohio State has been the only threat from the Big Ten, USC the only national title powerhouse from the Pac 10, and Oklahoma and Texas the only two to worry about from the Big 12, a win would make it three different SEC teams winning championships. If you’re not hearing the S-E-C … S-E-C chant going through your head yet, you might not get it out of your head for the next decade.