I Want My Four Hours Back
I paid a lot of money last night.
Ok, I really didn't pay anything to watch the BCS National Championship Game last night.
But if I did, I would definitely be wanting to get my money back ASAP.
What was supposed to be a great game between the two best teams in college football turned into a huge disappointment.
As soon as Colt McCoy went down with a shoulder injury and never returned, the game plan for both teams changed completely.
Texas turned into a running team, which against Alabama's defense isn't going to get you very far. Alabama also tried to run Texas into submission. They ended up rushing for over 200 yards, but they needed 51 carries to do it.
Give credit to the way Texas' defense stepped up. They absolutely needed to, in a big way, when McCoy went down. Texas' offense was now reduced to nothing. That's not a shot against freshman Garret Gilbert, but come on. Texas had no choice but to scale back the playbook. It was like when Kyle Orton first started for the Bears.
As the game went along, Alabama got maybe a little too conservative. They allowed Gilbert to gain confidence after he found Jordan Shipley for a 44-yard touchdown up the seam.
It wasn't supposed to be happening. The score was 24-6 at halftime and with McCoy out, Texas had no shot, right? But the aforementioned Longhorn defense came up huge in the second half, not allowing the Tide to score until they sacked Gilbert and recovered the fumble at the Longhorn two yard line.
Give Gilbert all the credit in the world for hanging in there. He could have easily mailed it in, played the "I'm a freshman" card, and went in to Spring football with some much-needed game experience. But he didn't do that. He hung in there, made some big plays, and nearly pulled off the impossible.
His receivers didn't help him much. They dropped several passes, including one that should have been an easy touchdown.
His coaches weren't a big help either. When Texas took over with 29 seconds left in the first half, deep in their own territory, they decided to try to get into field goal range. They had two timeouts, a good kicker, and one of the most explosive offenses in the game. It would be OK if McCoy was still on the field, but he wasn't. They had a freshman quarterback, and were on their heels already. A shovel pass was intercepted and run back for a touchdown, making it 24-6 going into the half.
If you take away that play, and add the touchdown that was dropped, we're looking at a 20-17 ballgame through the third quarter, in favor of Texas.
In the end, 'Bama hoisted the crystal football, and Nick Saban tried to smile. He didn't look too happy with the Gatorade bath his players gave him. I couldn't tell if that was because his shirt was now pink, or because they hit him upside the head with the cooler. Bad execution on the Gatorade bath.
What we'll never know, though, is how the game would have turned out if Colt was able to stay healthy. What would have happened? He said before the game that he thought he could have a big day against Alabama's secondary. Gilbert had a very good second half, going 14-25 and two scores before the wheels came off.
You can't help but feel terrible for Colt McCoy. Here's a kid who did nothing but help his team to an undefeated season and the National Championship Game. He was a Heisman finalist, and the only one from the original three favorites (McCoy, Bradford, Tebow) who had a legitimate shot to win it.
I couldn't hardly bear to watch his postgame interview with ESPN. It's an unfortunate reality of sports, that injuries do occur.
We all know why I want a playoff in college football, and I'm not saying that this game makes a case one way or the other for such a playoff. But if this was the first game of said playoff, maybe Colt has a chance to come back from the injury.
I think when we go back and look at this game, we'll do so with a skeptical mind. Again, we'll never know what would have happened if Colt was in the game. I think things would be much different. In fact I'll go out on a limb and say that based on how Texas' defense played, that Texas would have come out on top.
Enjoy your championship, Nick Saban. I hope you realize that things could have been much different. In a perfect world, we play this game again in a few weeks, with the best players playing for the two best teams. Maybe then we'll get a fair game.
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