Alabama 28, Texas 20
Texas does a good job taking advantage of our secondary. That's right! Our secondary is going to be more exposed in this game than any other game of the season. Bear in mind, we haven't been very exposed so far, so I'm not necessarily saying we'll get torn up out there; I highly doubt that will happen.
Maybe Shipley will have a good return or two that sets up good field position, maybe even a kickoff return for a touchdown.
Good play calling will give Texas a shot. Ask Kentucky. Kentucky had fantastic play calling against Alabama. Granted the Wildcats can't execute, but Texas can. The Longhorns have playmakers catching balls thrown by a playmaker quarterback.
The Texas defense will be more aggressive than Florida's. Texas does not have as good of a general defense as Florida, but a lot of football is about mentality. The Texas defense will be ball-hawking and physical. Look for McElroy to throw an interception this game.
Nick will have his boys and coaches prepared, but so will Mack. However, I bet the big difference will be the quality of the assistant coaches. Yes, Texas has good assistant coaches. But Alabama's are better, reference the Florida game. Texas has not dominated an opponent of such quality that I can recall in the last decade.
People, people, people! Give me a break! I'm tired of people claiming Texas does not deserve to be in the national championship game. I'm tired of people saying Alabama will dominate the Longhorns. Sure, there is a chance we could, but don't expect it. Alabama barely beat Auburn and Tennessee. So what if Texas barely beat Nebraska? At least the 'Huskers were ranked.
I should start by saying that Alabama's defense is no doubt better than Nebraska's. However, the mentality that Texas will have against Alabama will be more intense and more fired up than against Nebraska. GIven that knowledge, I do think Texas will score more against Alabama than it did in the Big XII Championship game. In the end, the difference in the game is going to come to down defenses. I find that Alabama has a clear edge over Texas in defense. Dispute it al you want in these forums, but you'll see that I'm right on January 7th. I might not be right that the game will come down to defense, but I guarantee our defense will outplay the Texas defense. Texas does has a legitimate shot to beat Alabama. We Crimson Tide do have weak spots. Saban will adjust mid-game, but teams this year have shown that our secondary can be lured deep and onto one side of the field, leaving thirty yards of empy space in a portion of the field. Florida did this a few times but didn't capitalize. Texas will capitalize. They are underdogs, and they want to win every bit as we do. All teams have a few weaknesses; what makes a championship team is being able to recognize and adapt.
One big uncertainty is whether or not Colt McCoy will be able to run on Alabama. We shut down Tebow, but number twelve is a different style. Tebow runs like a fullback, but McCoy is just plain fast, giving him an advantage over Tebow for making big plays. Alabama matches up well with brutal teams because we tackle so well. Given we're also a fast team, a fast team will match up against us better than a strong team. Do I really think McCoy's running ability will win the game? No. It's just one more weapon to help the 'Horns move the chains.
One huge difference between the Gators and the Longhorns is going seemingly unnoticed by many people on these boards. McCoy can throw the ball even better than Tebow, sure. The real difference between the two is who is catching the ball. Texas has great receivers who will be cause more blown coverage than the Florida receivers. Additionally, the Texas receivers won't drop as many balls. Shipley is the biggest threat but Malcolm Williams is an unsung hero of the Texas offense. He's tall. He's fast. He's going to beat Marquis Johnson. Not everytime, but Malcolm will have some airtime. Obviously Shipley will beat his coverage every now and then.
Unfortunately for the Texas offense, there is no real need to take running backs Foswhitt Whittaker or Tre Newton seriously (as a spectator). I'm sure that if Bama has blown assignments these two boys are capable of taking advantage, but quite frankly, Texas doesn't hand off the ball enough for it to be likely these two guys will even have possession of the ball if there is a blown assignment. Bama's front three will keep these guys contained for the most part on pure handoffs. However, when Whittaker trots onto the field, the play calling isn't terribly unique. A swing or screen pass is more common than a dive. Ro' McLain loves running down swing passes.
The Alabama offense, on the other hand, is a bit more questionable. We just haven't had the consistency this season for me to be really confident. I don't think Texas will be able to afford keep eight or even seven men in the box if McElroy plays anything like he did against Florida. If that is indeed the case, we'll run all over the Longhorns from the get go, and they'll never have a chance. But our offense will depend on which McElroy shows up, which I don't care to predict.
Nonetheless, I think Alabama is going to be ready. I think Alabama is going to be focused. I think Alabama will bring home the BCS National Championship. With three minutes left in the SEC Championship, some players were going to dump the gatorade on Coach Saban, but Rolando stopped them. He said we haven't won it all yet. We have one more.