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2010 BCS Championship Position Breakdown
Bama WR Julio Jones & Texas RB Jordan Shipley
Bama WR Julio Jones & Texas RB Jordan Shipley
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 6, 2010


It's finally here ... national championship night. The two teams are almost dead even with each needing its No. 8, Jordan Shipley for Texas and Julio Jones for Alabama, to shine. Check out the position-by-position breakdown of the Longhorns and the Crimson Tide.

2010 BCS Championship Breakdown

Alabama vs. Texas - Offenses

- CFN 2010 BCS Championship Preview  
- CFN 2009 BCS Championship Breakdown - Florida vs. Oklahoma  

- CFN 2010 BCS Championship Breakdown - Defense & Special Teams

By Pete Fiutak

QUARTERBACKS

Alabama: Greg McElroy isn’t going to be a superstar and he’s not going to do anything in the NFL, but he’s a tremendous winner who was a phenomenal high school player at Southlake Carroll High in Texas where he threw for 56 touchdowns in one year after taking over for future Missouri Tiger, Chase Daniel. It was between Florida and Alabama for his decision, and some guy named Tebow chose to be a Gator making the decision easy. After waiting his turn for a few years, McElroy has become a fantastic game-manager, in a good way, who overcame a midseason lull to be ultra-efficient, accurate, and against Auburn, clutch. He has only thrown four interceptions on the year with two coming against South Carolina, but he might have to take some chances down the field against the swarming Texas secondary and he can’t be afraid to get picked off a time or two. While he netted 110 yards and a touchdown, he’s not a runner.
Texas: Colt McCoy is the winningest quarterback in D-I history, but his biggest moment came in one of his worst games, throwing three interceptions and just 184 yards in the Big 12 Championship victory over Nebraska. It’s not an overstatement to say that the game comes down to him. If he’s off and he’s not reading the speeding Bama defense well, this could be an ugly blowout, but if he’s on early, Texas has a shot. The entire offense will be put on his shoulders, so expect the Texas A&M game McCoy who ran for 175 yards and threw for 304 and less of the conservative pocket passer. This is his final game, and he’s going to turn it loose.
ADVANTAGE Texas. Alabama can win if McElroy is just okay, but Texas doesn’t have a prayer if McCoy doesn’t come up with one of his best games of the season. How is McCoy in bowl games? He’s 3-0 completing 88-of-129 passes (68%) for 896 yards with five touchdowns, one interception, and with 72 rushing yards and two scores.

RUNNING BACKS

Alabama: How good is the Alabama backfield? The Heisman winner probably isn’t the most talented back. Mark Ingram is a thumper with speed and nice hands, and if possible, he’ll be a workhorse for the Bama offense who’ll keep running until Texas proves it can stop him. Ingram finished 11th in the nation in rushing yards per game and only (with only being a relative term for a Heisman winner) ran for 15 scores, but he was consistent, great in the big games, and he always produced when healthy. But Trent Richardson might be better. The super-recruit has it all with power, more speed than Ingram, and the potential to eventually win one of those neat bronze statue things someday. Adding some nice pop to the mix is Roy Upchurch, a pounding back who could get five carries just to mix things up.
Texas: It’s not that the Texas running backs are bad, but they play second-fiddle to McCoy and the short passing game. It’s a two-headed monster with Tre Newton bringing the speed and quickness, and Cody Johnson the thumper who’s automatic around the goal line with 24 career rushing scores. Newton was out of the game plan for a bulk of the season, but he came on to be the main man over the final three games to finish with a team-leading 513 yards and six scores. Vondrell McGee ran for 104 yards in the blowout or UTEP but that’s been it.
ADVANTAGE Alabama … by a ton. However, Texas, who lives on the short to midrange pass, averaged 4.1 yards per carry with 28 rushing touchdowns, who needs to run to win and based its entire season on the ability to control things on the ground, averaged 5.1 yards per carry with 27 scores.

RECEIVERS

Alabama: If every player currently playing college football was in the NFL Draft, Julio Jones might be a top 15 pick. He’s the prototype with size, speed, a fantastic attitude, and the drive to be a special player, and while he’s the team’s unquestioned No. 1 target and the leading receiver, he’s grossly underutilized because of the tremendous Bama running game. In two years he has 100 catches for 1,497 yards and eight touchdowns, but he might have put up those types of numbers in about eight games at a place like Texas Tech. He really is that good. Texas has to keep its full attention on him at all times, meaning the small but speedy Marquis Maze should have all the underneath routes he wants. Unofficially the team’s fastest player, he’s a threat to do big things every time he touches the ball, but he hasn’t scored a touchdown since September and only has 30 catches on the year. Tight end Colin Peek will be better in the NFL than he is in college. A great blocker and a dependable target, he caught a touchdown pass in each of the last two games.
Texas: There was a time this year when Jordan Shipley was a real, live Heisman candidate. The sixth-year senior was the No. 1 target by far catching 106 passes (the No. 2 receiver, James Kirkendoll, caught 48) for 1,363 yards and 11 touchdowns and also served as a devastating punt returner. However, as good as the slippery-smooth target has been throughout his career, making 238 career catches, he has been mediocre in the bowls catching 17 passes in the three games for a mere 133 yards (averaging 7.8 yards per catch) with no scores. 6-3, 220-pound Malcolm Williams was a Texas state champion-level sprinter in high school, and he has all the upside to grow into an NFL target if he can be a consistent playmaker. So-so throughout the year, he blew up late with 15 catches for 235 yards and a score in the final two regular season games. Kirkendoll caught two touchdown passes in each of the last two regular season games and will be used as a bit of a deep threat in three-wide sets.
ADVANTAGE Texas, but only because the Longhorn receivers get to do more in the offense. Williams has NFL skills but hasn’t shown them off enough, while Shipley is a good college player, but he’s not Jones and there isn’t a Texas speedster quite as fast as Maze.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Alabama: No, the Alabama offensive line wasn’t better without Andre Smith, but it was tremendous throughout the season at paving the way for the devastating running game. The outstanding backs helped to make the line look great at times, but this is a strong front five that will have to play at another level to dent the UT defensive front. While it’s not going to be easy to find running room, this is also a mediocre pass protection unit that hasn’t been exposed because 1) Bama doesn’t pass all that much and 2) no one has really sold out to get to McElroy. With that said, only allowing 15 sacks on the year despite facing Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, LSU, and Florida is still impressive. Mike Johnson might be the best guard in America, but the spotlight will be on right tackle Drew Davis against the tremendous Longhorn ends. James Carpenter can hold his own at left tackle, and Davis isn’t bad, but he’ll get to go against Sergio Kindle and has to at least break even.
Texas: This is a good, veteran line that’s at its best when it’s able to line up and pound away and use its strength, but when it has to protect against good pass rushes, there are problems. Don’t look too much into Ndamukong Suh’s performance in the Big 12 Championship; he’s a different player who took his game to another level. Adam Ulatoski is the star at left tackle and Chris Hall, despite the domination by Suh, is one of the nation’s better centers. This isn’t going to be a difference-making line and it’s not going to do enough against the strong Bama offensive front to win the game. The goal is to not be awful and not be a liability like it was against Nebraska.
ADVANTAGE Alabama. The Tide can win because of its offensive line. The Longhorns can lose because of its line.

- CFN 2010 BCS Championship Breakdown - Defense & Special Teams