BCS National Championship Game: 10 Reasons to Love Alabama
It's the eve of the BCS title game for the 2011 national champion and I'm more excited for this year's game than I have been in a while. The two teams in this game are not only the best of the season, but two of the best teams in the history of college football.
A win for LSU would put them in the "legendary" category. A win by 'Bama would make them a "dragon slayer." In a game that easily could go either way, I'm here to give you the top 10 reasons that the game should end in favor of the Tide.
*Defensive statistics from Yahoo Statistics and ESPN
10: A Great Historical Fit in the Annals of Alabama Football (Part I)
In Alabama's rich 13-championship history, there are roughly five championships that the Tide "shouldn't" claim. Why we claim those championships is another article. (Most fans don't realize that their teams also claim championships under identical circumstances and would have to forfeit them also if 'Bama gave up theirs.)
Even after 'Bama's January 2010 victory over the Longhorns, I ran into a few Texas fans that said 'Bama shouldn't claim the 2009 season because Colt McCoy was knocked out of the game. Granted, they were not the majority, but they are out there nonetheless.
If Alabama wins on January 9, 2012, the naysayers will have another arrow in the quiver of anti-Alabama ammunition. There will always be someone that says the national champion should be someone else, especially if the champion comes from the SEC.
Alabama has 13 national championships. A win in this year's title game would give them 14. A win this year would take us to 8-6 (uncontested-contested championships), much closer to the .500 mark that I have come to expect from the naysayers.
9: A Great Historical Fit (Part II)
Back in 1925, Southern Conference football was considered inferior to the powerhouses of Stanford, Washington State, and other members of what is now the Pac-12.
Alabama was essentially selected to represent all of the hillbillies from the south in a grand football game that would once-and-for-all shut the media up about southern football.
We southerners just couldn't play the game with the intelligence required to be a championship-caliber team. With a 20-19 victory over the Washington Huskies, Alabama was awarded its first national championship.
To make a long story short, Alabama was repeatedly invited to the Rose Bowl to prove that the 1925 season was a fluke. They consistently proved that southern football was real.
The SEC later made the conference championship an annual event with a 'Bama victory in the inaugural 1992 SEC Championship.
In this, a history-making SEC vs. SEC matchup for the BCS title game, I believe history will repeat itself with 'Bama being at the forefront of controversy after championship no. 14.
8: Mistakes Shape Us into the Men We Will Be for the Rest of Our Lives
On November 5, Alabama made far too many mistakes to recover from before the end of the game. You can't make that many mistakes in one game and expect to win.
En route to an 11-1 season, and a berth in the title game, the Tide have made a few mistakes. If we all lived perfect lives, the world would be pretty boring.
Mistakes shape us into the people we are today by teaching us the consequences, both individual and as a group, of our successes or failures.
The Crimson Tide have learned a lot this season and have had an entire month to produce a single game plan that will redeem them from their own mistakes. There is a lot more on the line for Alabama in the title game.
I take the Crimson Tide over the Tigers simply because they have had more learning opportunities this year. It's easy to overlook mistakes when you are already on top. I think Alabama will enter the title game with a lot more focus and drive than the Tigers.
7: Scoring Defense
Alabama averages allowing 8.8 points per game, including a loss on November 5 to the LSU Tigers. Most of that is preparation from the coaching staff, the other portion is from individual ownership on the field.
Alabama's defense takes an opponent's touchdown very personally. Don't look for a whole lot of scoring when the purple and gold uniforms have the ball. Alabama has beaten every common opponent by almost the exact same margin as LSU.
In a game where the slightest defensive mistake can make the difference, don't look for those mistakes from the nation's highest-ranked defense in all major categories.
6: Pass, Rush and Total Defense
In the entire season, Alabama has allowed 1396 passing yards, and 899 rushing yards for a total of 191.3 yards per game of total offense from their opposition.
Their opposition included two of the top three teams in the BCS the week before LSU took Arkansas down a notch. Another fact to note here is that Nick Saban subbed in a LOT of younger men against the Georgia Southern option offense.
He knew they would need practice against that offense and they were the only option opponent before the end of the season. Even with the Eagles gouging 'Bama on a few key plays to ding them for a season-high 21 points allowed, 'Bama still sits atop the defensive charts.
On November 5, LSU scored with every opportunity for a total of six points in regulation. Alabama left nine points on the regulation field due to only scoring on two of five opportunities.
The Crimson Tide defense is responsible for holding LSU to two field goal attempts. If the Tide's defense has gotten better in the last month, this could get ugly for LSU.
5: Kirby Smart
Many Alabama fans fear the option offense presented by LSU in the second half of the November 5 match. I am a little nervous about it, but I watched the 2009 SEC Championship Game on DVD over the Christmas break.
Smart was the maestro behind the victory over the Florida Gators and the ensuing victory over the Texas Longhorns to bring championship no. 13 to the Capstone.
Kirby Smart is the best defensive coordinator in college football today as the previous two slides have shown. Kirby Smart may be the difference in this game and I would gladly welcome that.
Kirby Smart is most definitely a top-five reason the Tide will win the battle for no. 14.
4: First Team All-Americans
Alabama fields four First Team All-Americans on Monday night. Two on offense in Trent Richardson and Barrett Jones, and two on defense in Mark Barron and Dont'a Hightower.
Alabama has the most First Team All-Americans of any FBS team in the nation. This is how you measure Nick Saban as a coach. Everyone in the nation starts the college football season in the same place, 0-0 with no All-Americans.
At the end of the year, Alabama will lead the nation in All-Americans and in first-round draft picks. For the BCS NCG, they will all still be in the crimson jersey. Advantage: 'Bama.
3: A.J. McCarron
Sure, A.J. made some mistakes in the first meeting of these two powerhouses. Who among us doesn't make mistakes we wish we could take back?
Here's the rub: McCarron has a better shot of erasing his mistakes than most of us ever will. McCarron has a lot to prove out there. He's not heading out there to prove that he's the next Andrew Luck, he's simply out there to show the world that he's part of a championship team.
McCarron has had over a month to prepare for this game. He will be able to control his offense with a blindfold on. (I hope he doesn't, of course.) A.J. McCarron is in his first year as a starter. Look for him to make the statement, "I am quarterback because I earned it, and we are champions."
Nothing motivates a competitor to fix his mistakes more than a failure, trust me on that. McCarron was a big question mark this year and he's going to erase the question mark behind his name on January 9.
2: Trent Richardson
Trent Richardson is one of many difference-makers on the field in New Orleans. LSU has them and Alabama has them. At the end of the day on November 5, Richardson had hung more than 150 all-purpose yards on the vaunted LSU defense.
Look for Richardson to make a statement in this game. Richardson loves his team and he loves his coaches. Make no mistake about it, if he needs to be in there returning a kick, he'll make a difference in any way he can.
He's focused, driven and motivated. He is a great motivator himself. Look for his performance to spark some real intensity in this game. T-Rich already has a ring that Ingram and GMac got for him. He's the ultimate team player and he's out for a ring that's all his own.
1: Nick Saban
Nick Saban is a great coach. He is on track to be one of the greatest coaches in college football history.
Is he perfect? No, but nobody is. In a game with as much on the line as Alabama has this year, I wouldn't want them in the hands of anyone else.
If you want to talk about preparation, motivation and ability, Saban's the answer. After taking over at the Capstone, it took him only one year to make a championship contender (2008). He followed that season with a championship team.
Nick Saban doesn't lose national championships. He's been there twice, and with two different teams. To everyone who says that "defense wins championships," I say, "no, Saban does." Saban is the biggest reason to love the Tide for the title game tonight.