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Texas vs Alabama
BCS National Title Game
When this season started everyone assumed it would be Texas taking on a SEC
team in the BCS National Title Game. Most people assumed that team was going to
be Florida since Florida was the defending BCS Title Champ and they had QB Tim
Tebow coming back, but after Alabama completely dismantled the Gators in the SEC
Title Game there was no doubt who was the King of the SEC.
Alabama won games this season just how Head Coach Nick Saban likes; with strong defense and a powerful rushing attack. Alabama’s defense is arguably the best in the country allowing just 11 points and just 242 yards per game. Alabama is looking to add to their 13 National Titles, and if they are going to be able to claim another title it’s going to come down to how this defense handles QB Colt McCoy and the Longhorns.
After Texas was kept out of the BCS National Title game last season even after they beat Oklahoma head to head, this has been the goal for the Longhorns for the whole 2009 season. It was BCS Title Game or bust for Texas, and they were able to finish their season a perfect 13-0, but they still have one game to go to complete their undefeated season. This is the game we have been waiting to see all season, so lets see just how both teams matchup.
TEXAS - It is pretty obvious who has the advantage in this matchup, but it might not be by as much as one would think. There is no denying that Colt McCoy is a great QB and an even better leader on the field. In McCoy’s career he has thrown for 13,244 yards and 112 TDs. He is deadly accurate and has done a great job his whole career of not turning the ball over. The one question mark with McCoy is this season when he has faced tough defenses like Oklahoma and Nebraska he has struggled. Against Oklahoma he only had 127 yards passing 1 TD and 1 INT, and against Nebraska McCoy had one of his worst games as Texas’ starting Quarterback completing just 20/36 passes for 184 yards and 3 INTs. He is going to have to improve those numbers if Texas is going to have a chance to get the win here.
BAMA - On the opposing sideline you have QB Greg McElroy who has been streaky for most of the season, but he has really turned things around in his last 2 games. Ever since he led his team down the field for the game winning TD against Auburn McElroy has been playing with a sense of confidence that he has lacked all season. Against Florida he was very efficient going 12/18 for 239 yards and 1 TD. This Crimson Tide offense is not the type of offense that throws the ball all around. They establish the run first and keep pounding the ball. All McElroy needs to do is manage the game exactly like he did against Florida and make the throws when he is asked to. If he can do that this Alabama football team is going to be very difficult to beat.
BAMA - This is an easy one when Alabama has the Heisman trophy winner in their backfield. Mark Ingram has had a great season rushing for 1542 yards and 15 TDs and he has added 322 yards receiving and 3 TDs. Ingram isn’t used a lot in the passing game, but when he is he can make you pay. This Nick Saban coached team is going to run, run, and run some more to control time of possession and keep McCoy and the Longhorn offense off the field. Ingram will get the majority of those carries, but True Freshman RB Trent Richardson is a 5’11 220lb bowling ball that wears down a defense. He has gotten more and more carries as the season has gone on, so he should get quite a few carries in this game. That 1-2 punch of Ingram and Richardson is very difficult to stop, and with their running style they love to wear down the opposing defenses.
TEXAS – The Longhorns do not use their RB’s very much, but RB Tre’ Newton could play a big role in this game if he can bring a spark to this offense when his number is called. He has rushed for over 500 yards on the season and 6TDs, but those numbers mean nothing in this game all that matters is how effective he can be to take some pressure off of McCoy and the passing game. If Newton is unable to get things going on the ground expect to see Coach Mack Brown to use Colt McCoy in the running game too if they are needing a spark on the ground.
TEXAS – This is a tough matchup to decide who has the advantage, because Alabama has some talented WRs, but since they don’t use their WRs as much as Texas does you have to give the edge to the Longhorns and WR Jordan Shipley. Besides McCoy, Shipley will play the biggest role in Texas’ success. If he has a big game he can really change a game in a hurry. Shipley has over 1300 yards receiving this year and 11 TDs. He is McCoy’s favorite target, so how effective Shipley can be against this stout Alabama secondary is going to go a long way to deciding who gets the win here.
BAMA – While the Crimson Tide might not use their WRs like Texas does, they still will play a big role in this game. They have one of the most talented WRs in the country in Julio Jones. Jones was slowed with an injury early in the year, but he has been much more effective late in the year when he was finally healthy. Alabama is going to pound the ball on the ground and establish the run, but Nick Saban loves to use his running game to set up the deep pass, so expect Julio to get a few opportunities to change this game in a hurry with the deep ball. Also expect TE Colin Peek to play a role in this ballgame, because he has been McElroy’s safety blanket in several games this year when McElroy needs to get out of a jam.
BAMA – Any offensive line that has opened holes for a Heisman Trophy winning RB has to get the nod in this matchup. The Crimson Tide offensive line is big and strong and open u p a lot of holes for their talented RBs. Not only do they open holes with their run blocking, but their pass blocking has been very solid too which it’s very hard to be good at both. This line has only allowed 15 sacks all year, so we have to give the nod to the Crimson Tide offensive line.
TEXAS – This is one of the matchups that could go a long way in deciding this game. Alabama has arguably the best defensive line in the country, and that is not good news for a Longhorn Offensive Line that has allowed 30 sacks all season. They have got to do a better job of keeping McCoy off his back or McCoy could have another tough game ahead of him.
BAMA: It is the Alabama front seven that makes this Crimson Tide defense the best in the country. They are anchored in the middle by the huge mass of humanity DT Mount Cody. Cody is some dominant that he forces the opposing offensive line to double team him which opens things up for the rest of this defense. Alabama DE Marcell Dareus has been one of those defenders that has benefitted by having Mount Cody in the middle. Dareus leads Alabama in sacks with 6.5, and we expect him to be in the Texas backfield all night.
TEXAS: Although Alabama has the nod in this matchup that doesn’t mean the Longhorns aren’t very talented up front defensively. Sergio Kindle was moved to DE this season and has had a solid season so far with 47 tackles and 3 sacks. Texas DE Sam Acho leads the Longhorns in sacks with 8 and fumble recovers with 4. Throw in DT Lamarr Houston who leads the team in tackles for loss with 14 you have a very good defensive line.
BAMA: Any LB group that has Rolando McClain gets the nod in that matchup. McClain is as good as it gets when it comes to Linebackers, and he has had another great season. McClain has 101 total tackles on the season including 12.5 tackles for loss. He will be flying all over the field, so he should have a big impact in this game. LB Eryk Anders also added 12.5 tackles for loss, and True Freshman LB Nico Johnson and Senior LB Cory Reamer have also played a big role in Alabama’s dominant defense this season.
TEXAS: Texas LB Rod Muckelroy leads the Longhorns in tackles with 78 total tackles. Texas doesn’t have the big names at Linebacker, but they have a very solid core group with LB Emmanuel Acho, Keenan Robinson, and Dustin Earnest. This is a good disciplined Linebacker core who will play a big role in stopping this Alabama rushing attack.
BAMA: We were looking for an area defensively where we could give Texas the advantage, and while Texas has a very good secondary we just couldn’t give them the nod over this Crimson Tide Secondary. The secondary led by Mark Barron, Javier Arenas, Marquis Johnson, and Kareem Jackson is arguably one of the better defensive backfields in the country. Arenas and Barron are 2nd and 3rd in tackles for the Crimson Tide and Mark Barron leads the SEC in interceptions with 7. This secondary is going to make QB Colt McCoy’s night very difficult. This secondary is ranked 2nd in the SEC in pass defense allowing just 164 yards per game.
TEXAS: The one reason why we almost gave Texas secondary the nod is because of DB Earl Thomas. Thomas leads the Big 12 in interceptions with 8. This Texas secondary is ranked 2nd in the Big 12 in pass defense allowing just 189 yards a game in the air, so they should be able to contain QB Greg McElroy pretty well, but Alabama’s passing game is not what is going to beat this Texas football team that’s going to depend on Texas’ front seven.
BAMA: Javier Arenas can change a game in a blink of an eye with one of his returns. Arenas is 2nd in the SEC in Punt/Kick returns averaging 16 and 29 yards per return. Alabama kicker Leigh Tiffin is also first in the SEC in Field Goals making 29/33 kicks and is first in the SEC in scoring averaging 9.6 points per game.
TEXAS: Texas kicker Hunter Lawrence is first in the Big 12 in scoring averaging 9.7 points per game and he has connected with 22/25 of his kicks. WR Jordan Shipley is also very capable of taking over a game with a kick/punt return much like Javier Arenas is. This game very well could come down to special teams.
On paper you have to give the nod to the Alabama Crimson Tide. Texas might have a slim edge offensively, because of QB Colt McCoy, but Alabama also has a very good offensive attack to go with their #1 ranked defense. This game all comes down to how effective QB Colt McCoy can be against this Alabama defense. With Texas’ weak rushing attack Alabama’s front seven will have no problem stopping the run, so McCoy is going to have to put this team on his shoulders and win this game through the air, and we just don’t think McCoy is going to be able to make enough plays against this Alabama secondary to get the job done. We expect the Crimson Tide defense to give their offense great field position all game, and when you give RB Mark Ingram a short field to work with he is going to make you pay. We see Ingram having another big game, and this new found confidence that QB Greg McElroy has will allow him to make enough plays in the passing game to get the job done.
BY THE NUMBERS
The numbers tell an interesting story. If you have been following us for any length of time, you know how we like to break a game down. Using the methods and stats we rely on, the game actually breaks down as a game decided by less than a field goal. In fact, one method we use to get a predicted score on the game comes up Alabama 19 Texas 18. Close huh?
The teams have played a schedule even in strength, so you can also take a look at yards per point numbers here. But when you do, not much of a surprise as Texas gets the nod offensivly while Alabama gets the not defensively. Season to date overall numbers show Texas with an 11 offensively and a 17 defensively making them +6 overall. Alabama would be a 13 offensively and a 22 defensively making them a +9. A 3 point edge overall for Bama.
If you look at just each teams numbers on the road you'll find Texas with an 11 and an 18 for a +7 while Alabama would have a 13 on offense and an 18 on defense for a +5, a 2 point edge for Texas.
Both teams are in the top 10 in the Nation in turnover margin, as you might expect, so no edge there.
The numbers simply tell us that we have two great teams that deserve to be here. One better offensively and the other better defensively.
THE BOTTOM LINE
After spending a season handicapping college football, including many games involving these two teams, you get to feel as though you're wired in. You get a feel for these teams that goes beyond the numbers. It goes much further than this season actually. You get a feel for these teams and programs over the years.
Alabama has been a classic team on the rise under Nick Saban, each year getting a little better. Each year knocking on the door. Last year they got the door cracked open and stuck their foot in, only to have Florida slam that door in the SEC title game. With a National Title being the goal, you can't fault their loss to a Utah team on a mission in last years Sugar Bowl.
This year, they did more than crack the door open. They knocked the door down in the SEC Title game by dominating Florida and now find themselves one game from that goal they have been getting closer to each year. Like Utah a year ago, it's now Alabama that's on a mission.
Mack Brown and the Texas program have had recent success, winning the National Title in 2005. Alabama hasn't won a title since 1992 under Gen Stallings. It's much tougher in our opinion to get to this game out of the SEC than it is the Big 12. Who knows when/if Alabama will get another crack at it.
It's Alabama's performance in big high profile games that puts them over the top for us. There aren't many. LSU perhaps, a game which Alabama won 24-15, but more recently, their performance against Florida in the SEC title game. This was a Florida team that had one of the best, if not the best offense in the entire country. An offense with more weapons, that comes at you in more directions than Texas, and Alabama simply shut them down. It was also a Florida team that had perhaps one of the top 3 defenses in the nation. Alabama won the game 32-13 folks.
It you look at the two teams on the Texas dance card that most closely resemble Alabama, it would be Oklahoma and Nebraska. Those were the two lowest point production games of the season for Texas, getting by Oklahoma 16-13 and lucky to get by Nebraska 13-12. Alabama is better than both of those teams, no question about it. No other teams that Texas has played all year come even remotely close to the talent that Alabama has defensively. They averaged 14 points against Oklahoma and Nebraska......how many you figure they'll manage against Bama?
No offense to Mark Ingram, but there are probably more than a few running backs that could have won the Heisman Trophy this year if they had the opportunity to run the ball behind this Alabama offensive line. Alabama will be able to run the ball. Texas, likely, will not. Under that scenario, there is no way Colt McCoy wins this game with his arm alone.
Alabama wins this game. We are going to take the pointspread out of the equation in this one. We have had a successful college football season as a result of our 7-1 showing in the Bowls. We can afford to pay a little more in this spot in order to insure that the number doesn't beat us. We're going to play Alabama on the money line. Shop around. You should be able to get -170 or less. Texas money should come in dropping that price even more before the game finally kicks off.
5* Alabama PK -170 or Less
Opinion only on the Under 46
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