Tuesday Question - Call it ... Texas or Bama?
Alabama QB Greg McElroy
Tuesday Question ... And the BCS Championship Game winner will be … ?
Tuesday Question ... January 4
And the BCS Champion will be ...?
Last year ...
... Florida or Oklahoma?
Q: Call it ... Texas or Alabama?
A: By any chance did you
happen to catch the Sugar Bowl, or at least the
first half? If Florida could do that to an
undefeated team that was a missed field goal from
Texas away from playing in the national title, then
what about the team that reduced it to tears, panic
attacks, and a total program melt down?
By any chance did you happen to catch what the Big
12 is doing this bowl season? Oh sure, Oklahoma beat
Stanford in the Sun, but Oklahoma State was a
disaster, Missouri was an embarrassment, Texas A&M
got stomped, Iowa State barely got by a horrible
Minnesota team, Texas Tech had to fight to get by
Michigan State, who was missing a bulk of its team,
and Nebraska was a shining star partly because the
Pac 10 has proven to be a total fraud. This was a
bad year for the conference, and Texas winning it is
no big deal.
By any chance did you happen to catch Colt McCoy's
performances against Oklahoma and Nebraska, in the
two biggest games of the Longhorn season? How fresh
are the UT struggles against A&M and Nebraska to
close out the year? How prepared is Alabama going to
be to get back among what it sees as the rightful
spot on top of the college football world?
(With tongue sticking out) ...
McCoy is overdue for the Game of His Life type of
performances that we've all been waiting for all
season long, and while I think he'll out play
Alabama QB Greg McElroy, the real story will be how
the Texas defense comes up with its strongest effort
of the year. I don't believe that Mark Ingram will
have any room to run, but I do think that Trent
Richardson will turn out to be more effective.
McElroy will have to press just a little bit, and
he'll misread a few of the disguised coverages that
Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp will come
up with, the Texas D will set up at least one big
score, Jordan Shipley will come up with one big
return, and McCoy will be razor-sharp from the start
as the up-tempo attack will keep the Tide on its
heels all game long.
Alabama thinks it won the national title when it
beat Florida. Texas thinks it should've played
Florida last year. Call it a sense I'm getting from
the two programs and how they're each preparing,
with Bama ultra-tight and Texas appearing to be a
bit more relaxed, but I think that Bama is about to
face a Texas team with some unfinished business to
take care of. In the end, I'm picking McCoy over
McElroy. Texas wins.
Q: Call it … Texas or Alabama?
Although I have this nagging feeling that Longhorn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has something up his sleeve for an inconsistent Alabama offense, it won’t be enough to derail the nation’s best team. Okay, so it was only one day on a long calendar, but Dec. 5 was rather telling for both programs. While the Tide rolled a very good Florida team, the Longhorns struggled with Nebraska, needing a last-minute drive to get to this point. Those games provided plenty of clues for what’s going to happen in Pasadena on Thursday. ‘Bama might not have a player of Ndamukong Suh’s ability, but it does have massive DT Terrence Cody in the middle, All-America LB Rolando McClain, and a defense that’ll get to Colt McCoy often. It should concern Texas fans that their team has had problems with physical fronts this year, scoring just two touchdowns in games with Oklahoma and the Huskers. Expect that trend to continue. The Tide won’t explode on offense, but then again, it won’t need to. It’ll wear down the ‘Horns on both sides of the ball, pulling away in the second half.
Alabama 29 Texas 17
Q: Call it ... Texas or Alabama??
A: Yes, underdogs do well in national championship games. Yes, Texas was disrespected the last time the Longhorns came to Pasadena for a national title tilt, and yes, Mack Brown created motivational fuel from the orgy of USC adulation that swamped ESPN in the first days of 2006.
Yes, Alabama will need to recharge its batteries after peaking - emotionally and physically - in a flawless SEC Championship Game rout against Florida. Yes, Texas will be a lot better than it was in the Big 12 Championship Game against Nebraska. Yes, Colt McCoy's scrambling will slow down Bama's front seven. Yes, this game will be close.
With all that having been said, however, Nick Saban - love him or hate him - gets his teams to play with more high-level consistency than any other college football coach. Pete Carroll is the master of the big-game breakthrough; Urban Meyer has been able to turn to Tim Tebow to rally the troops on the big stage; and Bob Stoops had his moments earlier in the decade because of a willingness to take chances, plus some sharp minds on his defensive staff. Yet, with all that having been said, Saban is currently the skipper with the steadiest steering hands in college football. Alabama will struggle in the first half but wear down the Longhorns in the second half. The Crimson Tide will get their first-ever win over the Longhorns and banish the memories of both the 1965 Orange Bowl and the 1982 Cotton Bowl.
Alabama 23, Texas 17.
Q: Call it ... Texas or Alabama?
The last time everybody “knew” exactly what was going to happen in a season’s grand finale, Texas made us look pretty stupid by shutting down USC, some people’s choice as the greatest team in college football history. The Longhorns have another chance to defy the experts, and that makes it a little scary to pick against them. Texas has the benefit of the cliché at its disposal, and that means the UT players can tell the media that “nobody believed in us” and “we were disrespected” and can use that to their advantage in preparation for the game. It’s pretty powerful stuff, and the Longhorns are going to need every bit of that contrived motivation if they are going to beat Alabama. Because the Crimson Tide is the better team.
Many of the people who are picking against the Longhorns are doing so because UT looked so ordinary in its Big 12 title escape against Nebraska. My reason for selecting Alabama has to do with Texas’ ground game, which ranks 55th in the country and could prove to be a huge problem against the ‘Bama defense, which stops opposing ground attacks better than all but one team (ironically, Texas) in the country. The Longhorns gained only 18 yards rushing against Nebraska and averaged just 3.1 yards per carry versus Oklahoma State and 3.4 yards versus Kansas. If the Longhorns can’t get it going on the ground, QB Colt McCoy will spend a lot of time with angry defenders in his grill.
Texas’ defense is pretty stout, too. But Alabama has more balance offensively, particularly if QB Greg McElroy, who still hasn’t lost a game he has started during his football career (Okay, maybe he did drop a Pop Warner tilt), is as sharp as he was in the SEC title game against Florida. If McElroy starts quickly, the Longhorns will be playing from behind all night, and that won’t be very easy, not against a team as deep, strong and fast as Alabama. Texas may have the underdog role at its disposal, but it needs more than that to beat the Tide.
Alabama 23, Texas 17