So here we are at the end of another enjoyable season that was full of the usual suspects and a couple that became unusual. We saw some historical highlights, such as Tebow breaking Herschel's touchdown record, Mark Ingram bringing Alabama a Heisman trophy, and Colt McCoy becoming the winningest quarterback in NCAA FBS history.
As Paul Harvey used to say, "Now, the rest of the story".
These two storied programs will face off for the 9th time in history. History is not kind to the Crimson Tide in this series. The Tide are 0-7-1 against the Longhorns. And furthermore, this is for the BCS National Title. However, looking at this on the first page of the paper it would appear that roses are coming up Burnt Orange.
Here is how it plays out on paper.
Offense: Texas is ranked 20th in total offense and the Tide is ranked 35th. Lets take it a step further. In passing offense, Texas is ranked 14th and the Tide is 84th. Rushing offense gives the Longhorns a 55th ranking and Bama a 12th.
So, it is a passing offense against run offense. Really? Well, lets turn to the defense to see how this shakes out.
Alabama has a stout defense and so do the Longhorns. The Tide is ranked #2 in total defense and the Burnt Orange are ranked #3. Rushing defense goes to the Horns as #1! Bama is #2. Is that right? I believe so. Passing defense sits in the Tides corner at #7 and Texas is #23.
If we take these numbers at face value it would appear that Texas beats bama with a run stop game and the passing game as well. But, that is the first page of the paper.
Who has Texas played and who has Alabama played?
So Texas is number one in rushing defense and for good reasons. One could be the offenses they played were more of a passing team. The other could be that they may not have played any real rushing offense. Or, they really are good at stopping the run.
For top 25 rushing offenses Texas has played the #24 and #25 ranked teams in Oklahoma State and Texas A&M respectively. Alabama has played 5 teams in this category. Teams that earn a living running the ball. Teams like Auburn, Miss St., Va Tech, and Kentucky who are running the ball because either that is all they can do or what the quarterback knows best.
I'm not saying that Bama is going to blow UT out rushing the ball, some teams do not accomplish their strengths with a month layoff. However, I don't believe that Texas has seen a rushing game like Alabama's.
Pass defense; who has seen what? Texas' Colt McCoy is one heck of a player but has only seen Oklahoma and Nebraska with the best pass defense in the top 25. Colt only accumulated 176 and 184 yards passing (thats bad?). His rushing yards, something he excels in when flushed from the pocket, were nothing to even blink at for these two teams. However, who won the games?
Alabama has faced top 25 pass defenses in Florida, South Carolina, Va Tech, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky. If you raise that to the Top 30 you can add Auburn and LSU into the mix. In some of these games the passing attack was shut down and in others it exploded. Once again, who won the game?
We know that UT does not have a stranglehold on the rushing attack and Alabama is ranked so high, who exactly has UA played with a rushing defense? Florida and.....that is it. So, why is UT ranked 55th in rushing offense. In the top 25 rushing defenses UT has played OSU, OU, Nebraska, Missouri, and La. Monroe. Is this indicative of the style of football played in the Big 12 or is Texas that poor at running the ball? And, is Alabama that good at running the ball or are the rushing defenses that bad in the SEC?
Something to think about with UT's rushing, the lead rusher Tre Newton, has 513 yards, the second lead rusher is Colt with 348 yards, half of which were gained against Texas A&M. To put that in perspective Tim Tebow is Florida's lead rusher with 859 yards. UF had a total of 88 yards against Alabama. Tebow ran for 63 of those.
You know, I could go into special teams and say that Bama has it better more than not against UT. We could look at turnover margin as well and time of possession and so forth. Instead of boring you with more numbers and opinions it is safe to say that after the first page Alabama looks a little more polished than Texas.
Alright, there are pluses and minuses for each team. Texas is the underdog in this game and somewhere there is a statistic that says that in the last 10 plus national championships the underdog has won an overwhelming percent of the time. Couple that with them never losing to Alabama and Texas is looking very good.
However, funny thing about this year with Alabama, they said that Saban has never won back to back 10+ win seasons, that you could never get to the BCS-NC with a first year starting quarterback (see Tee Martin at Tennessee), that Saban has never won at Jordan Hare Stadium in Auburn, that Alabama has never had a Heisman winner, that the Crimson Tide has never beaten Texas...."never", a very strong word.
Something tells me the Roses are coming up Crimson. See you 1/07/2010.