The Alabama Crimson Tide are favored to beat the Texas Longhorns when the two teams meet in Pasadena for the BCS Championship Game. Not only has Vegas made Bama the early favorite, but I’ve seen a lot of sports writers favoring the Tide over the Horns. I think they are wrong, I think that Texas is going to beat Alabama in the National Championship Game. Before I get into the reasons I think that Texas wins, I should disclose that I am biased towards the Longhorns. I’ve been a UT fan all my life and attended the University of Texas. That said I think the following is a compelling argument why Texas will win the game, but I welcome any rebuttal if you disagree with my opinion.
Why Texas beats Alabama in 2010 BCS Championship Game?
* Texas’ offense has the edge because they have the better and more experienced quarterback. Colt McCoy is a senior QB that has started all 4 years for the Horns. During that time McCoy won more football games than any other quarterback in the history of college football (Division I record 45 wins). Colt has always won all three of the bowl games that he’s played in; he led a dramatic comeback a year ago against Ohio State to win the Fiesta Bowl. McCoy has started over 50 college games and won 45 of them, by comparison Alabama QB Greg McElroy just took over as starter this season. McElroy has done an amazing job leading Bama to a 13-0 record as starting QB, but this will be his first bowl game as starter. The experience between the two is miles apart, which gives a big edge to Texas. Even if you put experience aside, Colt is still the better quarterback because he wins both throwing and running the football. Alabama has a much better running game and offensive line, but Texas has the clear advantage in the passing game. A better, more experienced quarterback will make the difference in this game.
* Texas will at least match the results of Alabama on the defensive side of the ball. The two defenses are very similar in the rankings, both ranking in the top 10 in Total Defense and Scoring Defense. Texas defense has an edge that they’ve played against five team’s who ranked in the top 20 in passing offense, while Bama only played one offense ranked in the top 20 in passing. Alabama evens that out against the run where they’ve played four schools with run offense is ranked in the top 20; Texas played none. The comparison of the two defenses could go back and forth all day, but the end result is that both defenses are excellent. Will Muschamp and Kirby Smart are two of the best in the game, so I expect both teams to play well on that side of the ball. I call it a push on defense.
* Texas has the edge in intangibles because they have won more big games than Alabama. I know SEC purists are howling at that statement, particularly since the Crimson Tide have played in the last two SEC Championship Games. But Bama only won 1 of those 2 SEC title appearances and last year they laid an egg in their second biggest game of the year (Sugar Bowl against Utah). Sure Bama won a lot of games in the SEC, but 1-2 in the past 2 seasons in the games that matter most (conference championships & BCS bowl games). During that same time period Texas has gone 25-1 winning their BCS bowl game last season and the Big 12 Championship this year (2-0 in games that matter most). Texas only loss in the last two seasons was a last second upset to the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Lubbock. And while the Big 12 was weak this year, last season the Big 12 South was hailed as the best division/conference in college football. So Texas has played their fair share of quality opponents and 96% of the time the Longhorns have come out on top. Helping Mack Brown & Texas even further on the intangibles is that they come in to this game as the clear underdog. The Longhorns will have the chip on their shoulder after being talked down in the media, where many questioned whether Texas was worthy of a spot in this game. There’s nothing that better motivates a great team than to be doubted; all of that should fire up Texas more to give them an edge on Nick Saban & Alabama.
So Texas wins on offense, has the edge in intangibles, and is even with Bama on defense. That is why I’m predicting 28-20 win by Texas over Alabama in the 2010 BCS Championship Game.
What could happen that would make Alabama the victors:
* The Texas offensive line gets dominated by Bama’s front 7 in a similar fashion to how Nebraska dominated them in the Big 12 Championship Game (odds 1:2). I think Texas has learned from that experience and will use more misdirection to prevent Bama’s defense from pinning their ears back when they rush Colt.
* Alabama has a huge day through the air and exposes the Texas defense similar to how Texas A&M did in Texas’ last regular season game (odds 1:10). In Muschamp I trust – so I don’t think it’s likely the UT defense gets torched through the air by McElroy.
* Bama’s Heisman winner, Mark Ingram, and Trent Richardson run wild on the Longhorn defense (odds 1:6). Again, in Muschamp I trust. But this is a more likely scenario than the one above it because Bama has a Heisman winner in their backfield and a talented backup to him. Texas is stout against the run, but showed a few weaknesses in the Aggie game. So it could happen, but isn’t likely.
Finally after all of the analysis of the two teams there is one more thing that makes me think Texas wins this game. Call this my the stars are aligned for a Texas victory theory. This theory is based on a bunch of interesting coincidences between the 2009 Texas team and the 2005 Texas team that won the National Championship.
* Texas beat Ohio State in Fiesta Bowl last year. Texas beat Michigan in 2005 Rose Bowl, then won National Title following season. Could the Big 10 victory in a BCS bowl be a sign of things to come?
* Texas QB (McCoy) loses Heisman trophy to Alabama running back (Ingram). Vince Young lost the Heisman trophy to Reggie Bush, then beat him on the field a month later.
* Texas came into 2006 National Championship game as the big underdog to the dominant team that was led by charismatic coach, Pete Carroll. Texas is underdog for this game and again playing a coach with a big reputation (Saban).
* Texas won in 2006 in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The 2010 game is being played in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
Maybe they are just coincidences or maybe they are signs that Texas will win the 2010 National Championship. Even without them I think the Longhorns will take home the crystal trophy, but they certainly don’t hurt.