For the last few weeks I have sat back and watched and listened as many a person have continually praised the Alabama Crimson Tide, and in one breath switched to bashing the Texas Longhorns. Nothing wrong with a little team bashing between comrades, but when it is big money TV analysts, and beat writers, its quite frankly disappointing.
While people continue to drop the line that Texas has yet to see such a running power as the Tide, I agree. To a degree. While Ingram is arguably the nations best rusher, we also must remember a few things. The SEC is the nations premier running conference. If you cant run the ball in the SEC then you cant win in the SEC, simple as that. My prime example being Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt has not had a memorable rushing attack that I can recall off the top of my head in some time. Hence, Vandy has not had a memorable season in the SEC either. Sure you may argue that Cutler did so at Vandy, but remember, once Vandy hit the cream of the crop in the SEC that year, Vanderbilt hit skid row as far as wins, and went from 6-0 to 7-5.
While Texas has not been as efficient or produced as many yards, they still shell out 150 yrds a game. Enough to make, and keep any defense in the country honest. This includes Nick Saban's Crimson Tide. The 150 yrds a game is enough to keep Texas two dimensional enough to stay in any game. Especially when facing a QB who can not only beat you deep and short, but with his feet. The Horns are first and foremost a passing team, but McCoy can and will make you pay with his feet as well. Nebraska knows the woes of this story. They couldn't keep him contained long enough to upset the Horns. On the game winning drive alone McCoy scrambles twice to keep the drive alive.
On the other hand though, Will Muschamp knows exactly whats coming. A healthy dose of Mark Ingram. You can bet as well that Muschamp is plotting and scheming ways to make Igrams day that much harder. Because of Bama's inability to throw the ball this season, Muschamp can rely heavily on his passing defense, to enable him to stack the line to help keep Ingram some what in check. No Horns fan can expect for Texas to completely keep Ingram in check. To keep him unreliable enough to make McElroy throw is all you need ask for. So Earl Thomas can come with his eight interceptions this year. Third in the nation, adding to Texas' #1 ranking in interceptions this year.
People are bringing up the pass defenses of Texas and Bama left and right. Good thought process, if the two teams were in the same conference facing the same "regular season" obsitcles. The Tide won the SEC this year, true. But the SEC is also, as previously mentioned, a run oriented conference. So to be going against a team that is primarily pass team is danger. Especially being that your defense is acclimated to the run, playing in the SEC. While they rank 5 Th in INT, once again we must reiterate that they play in a pass lacking SEC. While as previously mentioned Texas ranks number one in a trigger happy Big 12.
Look at the stats though, Bama gave up 51 points combined in games where they played sub par passing teams. Thirty of those points went to KENTUCKY AND TENNESSEE. Something no Tide fan should be comfortable with, considering the impending passing attack of Colt McCoy. McCoy completed 70% of his passes amassing a 3,500 yard season, with 27 Td and 12 interceptions. Three of the said interceptions against the Huskers. Who with Suh rushing in your face all game is bound to make any pass rusher in the SEC look like about as good as a pop warner league DT. Seeing as to the Longhorns defense ranks number 1 in interceptions this season with 24, and Greg McElroy is the Fiftieth ranked passer in the nation, with only 2400 yrds and 17 tds on 4 INT, look for him to have at least two against a greedy Texas pass defense.
In closing, I would like to state that this game will be alot closer than most of "the experts" are saying. This game has the makings of a classic. Pass versus throw, SEC versus Big 12, McCoy versus Ingram. All in all #1 versus #2, The Alabama Crimson Tide versus The Texas Longhorns. I look forward to Jan 7 not only as a Longhorn fan but also as a college football fan expecting a great game.