Five burning questions about the BCS championship game

 

Newport Beach, Calif.—Folks, you know how much I love Atlanta but it was nice to wake up this morning in one of the few places in the United States where it is warm.  I understand we have some nasty weather coming in to the ATL.

Tonight in almost perfect conditions No. 1 Alabama (13-0), the SEC champ, and No. 2 Texas (13-0), the Big 12 champ,  will square off at the Rose Bowl for the BCS national title. I’ll be getting to the stadium pretty early today. I’ll file a new blog before the game and will then share some thoughts during the game. So if you’re watching tonight jump online. It should be fun.

Since this matchup was set on Dec. 6 it has been broken down in every conceivable fashion. But here are Five Burning Questions I have before the kickoff comes just after 8 p.m.

 

1. Can the SEC keep its streaks going? There are two big ones on the line tonight. A win would give the SEC its fourth straight BCS national championship. Florida won it in 2006 and 2008 while LSU took home the title in 2007. Because LSU won in 2003, a victory tonight would give the SEC five of the last seven national championships.

The SEC also holds the distinction of having never lost a BCS championship game. In addition to the four winners mentioned above, Tennessee beat Florida State in 1998.

 

2. Can Texas block the Alabama defense? In the Big 12 championship game Nebraska gave Texas fits because the Cornhuskers applied pressure up the middle with Ndamukong Suh and used their fleet linebackers to fill Colt McCoy’s running lanes. Texas is much more effective when McCoy can run the ball, which he did well in the second half of the season. With over a month to prepare, and with a defense that is faster than Nebraska’s, Alabama head coach Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart will come up with a few things that McCoy has not seen on the film. I’m just not convinced the Texas offensive line can block Alabama on a consistent basis.

 

3. Seven Heisman Trophy winners have played in the BCS championship game. Six of them have lost. Will Alabama’s Mark Ingram be the exception or the rule? The matchup of Alabama’s offensive line and Texas’s defensive line will be a war. Alabama’s offensive line has jelled beyond anybody’s expectations. In the preseason the O-line was a question mark and it ended the season as a strength. Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has done an incredible job rebuilding this defensive line as the Longhorns lead the nation in rushing defense (62 ypg).  But I don’t think Texas has seen an offensive line as good as Alabama’s. I believe Ingram will go north of 100 yards.

 

4. So what is Texas’s best shot to win this game? The Longhorns are the nation’s No. 2 team when it comes to forcing turnovers with 35. If Texas can turn Alabama mistakes into points then the Longhorns have a good chance to win.  But Alabama doesn’t turn the ball over very much. Two key stats here: Ingram has 492 career carries in two seasons and has lost just one fumble, that coming in the final minutes against Tennessee. Quarterback Greg McElroy has thrown 314 passes this season and has only four interceptions. Alabama just doesn’t make that many mistakes. I think the key here is McElroy, who enters this game with a 29-0 record as a starting quarterback dating back to his senior season in high school. McElroy doesn’t have to have a GOOD game. He just needs to avoid a BAD game. If McElroy does not play poorly, Alabama wins.

 

5. So what is the X-Factor? Without a doubt it is special teams. This game features two the nation’s best punt returners in Javier Arenas of Alabama and Jordan Shipley of Texas. Arenas, who averaged 16.3 yards per return, is a threat to go the distance each time he touches the ball. Shipley has returned three punts for touchdowns this season. If it comes down to a field goal, both teams have guys who can deliver in the clutch. Hunter Lawrence of Texas made a 46-yard field goal on the last play to give Texas a 13-12 win over Nebraska in the Big 12 championship game. Lawrence has made 20 of 23 field goals this season. Alabama’s Leigh Tiffin made 29 of 33 field goals, including 5 of 7 between 40-49 yards. If this game is close, expect a big play in the kicking game to decide it.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS: If the Alabama team that destroyed No. 1 Florida in the SEC championship game shows up tonight in Pasadena, I think the Crimson Tide wins by double digits. Alabama is just too solid and the defense is certainly the Crimson Tide’s best since the 1992 national championship unit. But I also thought that the 2005 Texas team was overmatched by No. 1 USC in a game what was also played in the Rose Bowl. You never know how a long layoff will affect a team and you have to wonder if Alabama played its best game against Florida on Dec. 5. Colt McCoy could have one of those Vince Young moments and fool me. Keep this in mind. Since No. 1 USC beat No. 2 Oklahoma in 2004, the No. 2 team has won four straight BCS championship games. Could No. 2 do it again? I don’t think so.

 

FINAL SCORE: ALABAMA 24, TEXAS 13.

 

 Please follow me on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/MrCFB

151 comments Add your comment

BCS = Fraud

January 7th, 2010
1:13 pm

According to the published stats…AND…Barnhart, TCU has had the #1 rated Defense all year.

And, based on Florida’s performance ALL SEASON and the UNDENIABLE “gifts” SEC officiating gave to Florida vs. Arkansas and Miss State, we KNOW Florida was WAAAAAAAY over-rated and completely undeserving of it highly dubious #1 BCS ranking all season.

Utah Utes (14-0) 2008 National Champs.

Boise State Broncos (14-0) 2009 National Champs.

It kind of sums it all up when Citi, one of the largest banking frauds in American history
is the title sponsor for the BCS, the biggest fraud in college athletics.

ArmsBendBack

January 7th, 2010
1:36 pm

I think that the last thing Boise St. would want would be an all-out playoff. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure their signature wins this year occurred when they had over a month to prepare. The meat of their schedule, week in and week out, seemed to leave much to be desired. At least with the BCS, they can always have an argument.

Otto

January 7th, 2010
1:39 pm

Utah and Boise St national champs lol

Sell crazy someplace else, we’re all stocked up here

Dawg-n-Alaska

January 7th, 2010
1:41 pm

SEC is Best is a Joke;
Thats why Richt is 37-4 against ooc schedule because he is an idiot, and the reason FLA and LSU look good each year is because they play teams like charleston southern and Alabama A&M… We finally get a break next year and get a warm up game prior to the start of our real schedule.
BCS=Fraud, i could not agree with you more about the fraud thing and the refs keeping FLA in it. I dont think that you can claim a Natl title when there are other undefeated teams out there. Look at Utah last year, yeah they may have not played a strong schedule but they tore ALA a new a$# last year. Even if my beloved Dawgs were in the position to win a title, it wouldnt feel right with not knowing if you there were other undefeated teams.

bamafan

January 7th, 2010
1:42 pm

Some things remain constant: M is still around Hey M, we missed you on the Tech blogs on Wed morning. Where were you? Guess you want to blog with a winner huh?

BIG 3, INSIGNIFICANT 9

January 7th, 2010
1:44 pm

Interesting, the SEC has 7 recognized NCs in the last 20 years. All but 1 from the BIG 3. UT in 1998.

Dawg-n-Alaska

January 7th, 2010
1:47 pm

I sent that without editing. I wouldnt feel right with other undefeated teams. Bring a playoff for all the conference winners and let the best one on the field win.

Without-a-clue

January 7th, 2010
2:07 pm

“This is not about who had the best season. This isn’t even about the history. This isn’t even about who has the best team. It’s about whose going to play the best for 3 1/2 hours,” Brown said. “That’s what I learned in 2005. The rest of it’s going to be chatter. It’s going to be who plays the best for 3 1/2 hours.”

The above quote is from Mack Brown. It took a football coach to put into perspective not only this game but every other one. Sportswriters and participants on the blog-o-sphere should take note!

SEC Pretenders

January 7th, 2010
2:19 pm

Johnny and George — I am not an ACC fan or an SEC fan, and definitely not a GT fan. Just tired of the SEC fans crowing about the 10 bowl eligible teams when your non-conf schedules are a joke. Win against three patsies, and then have a sub-.500 SEC, and go play some shmoe in an irrelevant bowl.

Georgia is the only SEC team whose non-conf was even close to respectable and look where it got them….

SEC Pretenders

January 7th, 2010
2:21 pm

UT wasn’t even the best team in 1998…. Didn’t deserve the NC.

The Grinch

January 7th, 2010
2:23 pm

BIG 3, INSIGNIFICANT 9

January 7th, 2010
1:44 pm

Interesting how you went back 20 years so you could get Bama in there. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

BIG 3, INSIGNIFICANT 9

January 7th, 2010
2:25 pm

Without-a-clue.
Ditto. Championships are won by the teams playing the game, not by the remaining teams in their conference.

GeneralNeyland96

January 7th, 2010
2:39 pm

Pretender:
UT beat everyone they played in ‘98….who do you think was better?

Otto

January 7th, 2010
2:42 pm

SEC pretenders, Va. Tech, Clemson, Az. St, Okie St., FSU, WVU sure are some patsies.

SEC is 10-4 against BCS schools in the regular season. Only the ACC played more BCS OOC games but they also played more FCS team too.

BIG 3, INSIGNIFICANT 9

January 7th, 2010
2:47 pm

The Grinch
That was out of respect for Alabama reaching tonights game. Make no mistake. I am not a fan of any team in the SEC. My beef is watching the dregs of any conference take any sort of credit for the winners in their conference.

Jason

January 7th, 2010
2:50 pm

In 21 head-to-head football games the past 2 seasons:
ACC: 10 wins
SEC: 11
Look it up. Not bad for a “basketball conference” against the big bad almighty SEC. What an overhyped joke. Of course ESPN and CBS talk it up, they have a financially vested interest in the conference. It usually has 2-3 very good teams and that’s it, while the ACC is full of mediocre teams. It’s called random sampling, and 21 games is a pretty large sample size. Winning 52% the past two years against the poor little ACC that you guys like to crack on- what does that tell you about your conference. Yea it’s overrated. SEC fans hate the facts.

ACC Pretenders

January 7th, 2010
2:51 pm

UT was the only undefeated team in 1998, moron

spectator

January 7th, 2010
2:51 pm

Most of the bloggers here are predicting a win for the “SEC”…is the SEC playing tonight? Is it bama playing or an all-star team from the SEC? If bama wins, does that mean bottom feeders like vandy and georgia get a share of the championship? Do their players get trophies? If texas wins do A&M and baylor get a share of the title? Nope, this is Bama playing Texas; it is not sec vs big 12, and whichever wins proves nothing about the conference. It is a win for their program only.

Otto

January 7th, 2010
3:00 pm

Spectator, Tell that to the other teams that were denied when LSU got the nod with 2 losses.

Otto

January 7th, 2010
3:04 pm

Jason,

The ACC champ beat the 2 SEC teams that didn’t get a bow bid congrats

SNOWFLAKE JACKET

January 7th, 2010
3:13 pm

LOOK AT THE PRETTY SNOWFLAKES!!!! AWWWWE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jason

January 7th, 2010
3:15 pm

spectator, i agree 100%. constantly rooting for other teams just because they’re in your conference = weak. that team probably waxed said fan’s team by 40, but like if they win it all it’s the other teams’ fans claim to fame. ha keep living off of their coat tails.

Turpin

January 7th, 2010
3:15 pm

I wonder if the people on here going on and on about the SEC are just pretending to be stupid or if they’re really that ignorant?

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

January 7th, 2010
3:16 pm

Question #6 Which one, if either Defensive coaches will be wearing red and black next year

Jason

January 7th, 2010
3:20 pm

Forgive me guys. I’m just a bitter, jealous, envious Yech fan that is stuck in the God awful ACC. I so wish Boddy Dodd had the stones to man up to Bear Bryant instead of tucking tail and running out of the SEC like a coward. We’d still be in the greatest conference in the world

Gen Neyland

January 7th, 2010
3:22 pm

Reptiles Rule : It’s great to know we have 5% of the college football world behind the Vols. Shoot, that only leaves a couple ahead of us but I don’t fear. We’ll win the rest of ‘em over…and we know 2010 is gonna be tough. That, my scaly friend, is not news. It’s youth and schedule…

BIG 3, INSIGNIFICANT 9

January 7th, 2010
3:23 pm

Turpin
I agree with you but all you can do is give them the facts, after that is up to them. It is one thing to be ignorant and whole other thing to revel in it.

Jason

January 7th, 2010
3:26 pm

Otto,
For every GT over Vandy there’s a Florida over FSU (4-4 ACC), or SC over NC St (2-6 ACC), gimmies for the SEC. Congrats on those. It’s 11-10.

concerned sports fan

January 7th, 2010
3:29 pm

Why does GT suck at everything?

Jerry

January 7th, 2010
3:30 pm

I hope Bama loses by 30 touchdowns

Jason

January 7th, 2010
3:31 pm

SEC 11 ACC 10 over past two years head-to-head. Wow what a dominant conference.

BIG 3, INSIGNIFICANT 9

January 7th, 2010
3:47 pm

Which is more pathetic?
Browns fans taking credit for the AFC North (Steelers)
Orioles fans taking credit for the AL East (Yankees)
Warriors fans taking credit for the Pacific Conf (Lakers)
SEC fans taking credit for (LSU, UF, Ala.)

Huh?!

January 7th, 2010
3:49 pm

Dawg-n-Alaska, you might not feel right, but something tells me you would take the crystal home.

Honest Abe

January 7th, 2010
3:50 pm

spectator @ 2:51 — whatever makes you feel good about your conference.

Dawg-n-Alaska

January 7th, 2010
4:42 pm

Huh?;
You are right, I would take the crystal home and buy my NC gear and all!!!!
I think this is brewing to be the perfect storm for ALA to fall!! Everyone is picking against them and I just looked ahead at the tv guide to see what time the game starts and it states “ALABAMA’S GAME against Texas”. That just strikes me odd to word it that way, instead of ” The championship game that features ALA vs TX. JMO…. Go Dawgs in 2010

Without-a-clue

January 7th, 2010
4:43 pm

A change of “pace”: When there are 4 Tenn Vols in a car, who’s driving? Answer: The policeman.

Mark "Crimson Crier" Ingram

January 7th, 2010
4:47 pm

ROLL TIDE! I don’t want to cry again!

VILLANOVA WILDCATS #1

January 7th, 2010
4:59 pm

Otto:

What kind of cluster-fxxk system is the BCS?

Any of you D1 morons ever hea of a PLAYOFF?

Every other colleg & pro sport on this planet uses one.

Try it sometime.

Jim Mora, Sr.

January 7th, 2010
5:01 pm

Playoffs !?!?!?!

You wanna talk about..playoffs !?!?!?!

Are you kiddin me….playoffs !?!?!?!?

De' truth

January 7th, 2010
5:26 pm

Villanova Wildcat, etc.

Did you ever hea(sic) that these are college/Universities that are controlled by Presidents, Chancellors, etc. that at least want to keep up the pretext that their purpose is to educate students NOT to field undisputed National Champions. Didn’t learn that in PS 8, did you?

John

January 7th, 2010
5:51 pm

Jason:

In 21 head-to-head football games the past 2 seasons:
ACC: 10 wins
SEC: 11

How did that happen?
1)GT vs. Vanderbilt
2)Boston College vs. Vanderbilt
3)Wake Forest vs. Vanderbilt
4)Duke vs. Vanderbilt
5)GT vs Miss. St
6)Clemson vs. USC
7)N.C. State vs. USC

7 out of 10 verses the bottom feeders of the SEC, 3 legitimate wins out of 21 games verses the rest of the SEC.

ACC RULES!!!!

TrueCrimson

January 7th, 2010
6:03 pm

All I want to say is Roll That Tide!

RTR!!!

CoachO

January 7th, 2010
6:06 pm

Are the idiot Tech fans still here? I figured they’d all go crawl under a rock.

Too stupid to be ashamed, I guess…

Barkin'Dog

January 7th, 2010
6:19 pm

I looked for Bama to win this thing all bowl season. But, I like Colt McCoy and his team-first character (returned Sr yr. to win a title). Although Texas won a title a few years back (as a dog in the Rose vs hometown USC), and I am a die-hard SEC fan who craves more wins, I see Texas going 8-0-1 (all time) against the favorite tonight. Bama will get the upper hand first half, with power and energy, say 14-6… But Colt will wear down the secondary with pin-point passes and scrambles, to tie it up at 24-24, and go on to win 38-34 in double OT… Kind of like last nights barn-burner (great ending). Then again, Bama could win 17-13, but overall I see Texas getting the crystal… OT or not. Enjoy the game, fellow fans!!

Tide Rising

January 7th, 2010
6:20 pm

I’m gonna get ballsy and predict my Tide to win 27-13. May I not look like a jackass tomorrow.

crabapplejoe

January 7th, 2010
6:51 pm

Colt McCoy to Jordan Shipley all night long baby…..Hook ‘em Horns

Snellville GT

January 7th, 2010
7:12 pm

MICHIGAN has the nation’s all-time best winning percentage: .737. NOTRE DAME is second, at .733. TEXAS is third, with .727. ALABAMA is sixth, at .712.

ALABAMA is so low mainly because of so much messing around before Bear got there. On the other hand, TEXAS has always played in a much sorrier conference than Alabama – first, the Southwest, now the Big 12 – both equally weak.

If all that doesn’t seal with finality the result of tonight’s game beyond all doubting, I don’t know what will. I have done my best – the rest is up to you.

CoachO

January 9th, 2010
8:41 am

You guys can all hate Bama and the SEC even more — now that they have #13.

NEXT#13

January 10th, 2010
7:15 pm

JUST GOT BACK FROM PASADENA “HATER’S”!!! GOT TROPHY #13,PUTTIN’ IN AN ORDER FOR A SABAN STATUE AND A PARADE TO CELEBRATE NEXT SATURDAY!! COME JOIN US AND SEE HOW IT FEEL’S TO BE A CHAMP INSTEAD OF A “CHUMP”!!! NEXT#14!!!

ixiooisasv

March 4th, 2010
6:34 am

welcome to:

http://www.maidi2008.net
———-
50%off ca,ed hardy t-shirt$15 jeans,coach handbag$33,air max90,dunk,polo t-shirt$13,,lacoste t-shirt $13 air jordan for sale,l nba jersy for sale sale,$35,nfl nba jersy for sale

and so on..

if you like to order anything you like.

More details, please just browse our website

Quality is our Dignity; Service is our Lift.

enjoy yourself. thank you!!
xvxcdsdb