3 Reasons Alabama Will Beat Texas For The National Championship

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3 Reasons Alabama Will Beat Texas For The National Championship

Alabama and Texas go head-to-head for the BCS National Championship on Thursday in a game that gained credibility with Boise State’s win over TCU in the Fiesta Bowl.  Though this is not a reason that Bama will beat Texas it is a reason for us to take greater notice of this game.  Boise State was ranked lower than TCU and TCU was in the middle of of a chase for a spot in the National Title Game.  TCU was the team that played great defense and they got outlasted by Boise State in a manner that can only be described as impressive.  TCU had a chance to come back but they couldn’t do it, and with TCU out of the way and Cincinnati losing badly to Florida in the Sugar Bowl detractors can only crow about the “extra second” that Texas was granted in the Big 12 Championship Game (and I know I’m in a small majority.)  So, where does that leave us?  With a legitimate BCS Title Matchup.  It has been proven that Alabama and Texas ARE the two best teams in college football.

Reason #1

Mark Ingram is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner (as a Sophomore) and I think that most of us will agree that running the ball is one very big component of winning football games.  Mark Ingram runs “downhill” very well and he can chew up the clock because they don’t mind running him inside.  I know he’s small, but somehow he can take that punishment.  Ingram can also hit the corner and easily break off a run of immense proportions (simply see the 66-yarder he busted out to seal the SEC Championship.)  Ingram is deceptively fast and all the Texas defense has to do is allow him ONE shot at a big run and he can put a dagger in their heart.

I’m not saying that Mark Ingram will win the game all by himself (because you could stop him and Bama still might have a chance through the air) but stopping him would significantly hurt the Tide.  Do I think he can be stopped?  Oh, not at all.  I don’t see any way that the Texas defense can hold up to the amount of rushing and the physical grind that Bama is going to demand of them.

Reason #2

Yep, it’s Nick Saban.  I know, I know…it’s trite, but you can’t argue with his resume.  (Besides saying he wasn’t going to Alabama and then screwing the Dolphins a few weeks later {that’s a tough nut to swallow if you live in South Beach}) then you have to say that Saban is the superior coach here.  Look at what Saban has done.  He won a national championship at LSU with a program he built up out of nothing (I mean, did YOU know about LSU football before Nick Saban got there?  No, not you from Baton Rouge, I mean someone OUTSIDE Louisiana.)  Then what did he do?  Well, he left the program in good shape for Les Miles who another National Championship for LSU in 2007.  Granted, Saban didn’t recruit any of those players, but he made LSU the kind of “wonderjob” that Les Miles would want to take in the first place.  (He created the aura of expectation that looms over the LSU football program.  You wouldn’t believe it, but if you have an LSU fan as a friend on Facebook you can relate to the insane status updates that they post during games as if they deserve to win the national title every year!)
Is Saban a better coach than Mack Brown?  Yeah, I think he is.  Why, you ask?  Well, Mack Brown has a ring just like Saban, but I honestly think that Brown got his ring courtesy of Vince Young and one of the greatest individual performances in the history of the sport.  I’m not saying Mack Brown is a bad coach, but he had the right QB at the right time to beat the dreaded USC Trojans (with their TWO Heisman winners) that day at the Rose Bowl.

Nick Saban didn’t have anything like that going on for him.  Nope, he just took his Tigers in the Title Game in 2003 and smacked the crap out of Oklahoma and Josh Heipel (another Heisman Winner.)  He didn’t need any superstars for that.  I’ll admit that he had defensive standouts all over the place, but the manner in which that team was put together enabled it to win…not a Vince Young-type single game performance.  Look at the way he stalks the sideline and tell me that he can’t will his team to win.  I say he can.

Reason #3

Terrence Cody, Rolando McClain, and Javier Arenas.  This is the Haloti Ngata, Ray Lewis, and Ed Reed of the NCAA.  (I know, I’ve cast Ray Lewis’ role with a smaller dude but it works in Hollywood, doesn’t it?)  Rolando McClain is a menace in the backfield who is the ultimate ball hog.  This year he’s my Major Wright (the DB from Florida.)  Everywhere the ball is…McClain is.  He makes more plays than anyone else on that team.  He’s made himself into a pretty recognizable name by putting himself near the ball at practically every second of the game.

Javier Arenas may have escaped the notice of a lot of fans, but I saw him making play after play in Bama’s close win over Tennessee when his very good game was overshadowed by Terrence Cody’s two blocked field goal attempts.  Arenas is the kind of player that hovers under the radar, makes good defensive plays, plays tight coverage on receivers, and waits like a phantom in the background for his chance to pounce.  He’ll make a huge play in the title game…I guarantee it!

Then there’s Terrence Cody.  Yes, he’s the guy that blocked two field goals against Tennessee (when Tennessee was prepared to upset the Tide) and in those two blocked field goals he saved Bama’s perfect season.  He BECAME a household name in the 10 seconds it took him to block two field goals, he improved his already-high draft stock, AND posterized himself with that amazing shot of him holding the blocked football.  That’s a man amongst boys who will be playing on Sunday very soon and starting his whole career.

Don’t we all think that if the Tide needs a field goal to be blocked field goal Terrence Cody can come through?  I do.  I don’t see how can take into account what he did against Tennessee and not consider the possibility that he could save this game as well (or put it away.)  Terrence Cody is the “other half” of the “Great Combination” that wins football games.  Mark Ingram will run the ball and Terrence Cody will stop the run (and a field goal or two.)  That’s what the Tide does best.  We could talk about Greg McElroy and Julio Jones (very good players in their own right) but they’re just icing on the cake.  Having a good Quarterback to Receiver duo is just ANOTHER way to kick Texas while they’re down.

This is where the argument changes….

“What about Colt McCoy?  He was a Heisman finalist for goodness’ sakes!” I can hear the Texas fans crowing about how they have the Quarterback du jour who’s going to ride in like a white knight and win Texas a championship all by himself.  Let me ask you something:  Who’s he handing the ball to?  Tre Newton.  He’s not a bad player, but he’s no Mark Ingram.  If you want my opinion (I hope you do since you’re reading my column) I’d say that Tre Newton is a guy that’s going to get tackled by Cody, McClain and Arenas alot.  “Ooh,ooh, what about Jordan Shipley.  He got some Heisman buzz this year!” Yes, Jordan Shipley is an INCREDIBLE receiver.  Actually, he’s the Wes Welker of college football.  He’s amazing.  I bet he can BE Wes Welker on Sundays, but do we really think that McCoy to Shipley on a thousand slot routes is going to beat Alabama?  I don’t.  He’s going to pad Rolando McClain’s tackle statistics like nobody’s business.  What does that mean?  (Because pretty much everyone gets tackled.)  Well, that means he’s not gaining any yards after the catch, and no yards after the catch = equals no real offense for the Horns.

“But the Horns have a defense too.  It’s not like they have all “Class F” recruits!” I can hear that complaint from the Texas fans as well.  Listen, I think this one is simple.  Texas has a very good defense, but no crazy standouts like Bama has in Cody, McClain and Arenas.  Plus, they have a defense that will be run down by the end of the game and will let this game get slightly out of hand by the end because they’ll be dead tired.

Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and John Taylor had Roger Craig to lean on.  Was Craig a Hall of Famer?  No.  But, he did chew up the clock and make defenses honest.  Tre Newton can’t keep the Bama defense honest and Mark Ingram CAN keep the Texas defense honest,  Therein lies the difference.  Colt McCoy is great.  Jordan Shipley is great, but I’m telling you that Mark Ingram, and that Crimson Tide defense being wielded by the clever hands of Nick Saban is enough to finish this thing.

So, what do I mean by “out of hand” at the end of the game?  Well, I figure it’ll be tight for a while because everyone will be shaking the rust off, but the Texas defense will have to shake the rust off while tackling Mark Ingram all the time.  In the meantime Alabama can shake the rust off by tackling Tre Newton (who isn’t as punishing.)  By the middle of the 3rd Quarter the Texas defense is going to be sucking wind and leaning over with hands on knees.  Panting.  When that happens Ingram will break a couple runs and McElroy can take some easy shots to Julio Jones.  That’ll push the score to a realm that will not accurately reflect how close the game was UNTIL the Texas defense lost their mojo.

Bear Bryant would be proud.  I can just imagine the scene like it’s out of a movie.  Bama’s taking a knee to finish out the game and there stands ‘ole Bear by the goalpost just enjoying watching the further successes in the house that he built.  That’s a long way from the Junction Boys isn’t it?

Alabama – 33   Texas – 13

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