Here we are again four years later. How sweet it is to be a Longhorn fan right now. So many storylines in this one. Not the least are the similarities to the 2005 campaign. Our opponent is ranked #1 and sports the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. Our quarterback is a Heisman finalist, just like the messiah VY was. Playing in the Rose Bowl again. None of that shit really matters, though. It's just coincidence. All of the hype and comparisons between the teams' opponents and results of the past season are meaningless now. It's going to come down to who plays the best for 3-1/2 hours tomorrow night. Still, that won't stop me from talking it into the ground.
Talentwise, I think both teams are about equal. This isn't going to be a situation where one team physically or athletically dominates the other. If one team comes out flat or scared then it could be a track meet and a blowout, but I don't think that's going to happen. A bounce of the ball this way or that, a turnover or two and big special teams plays usually decide games like this of evenly matched, evenly coached teams.
I think going in, Texas' gameplan is going to be to go no huddle on offense to start out the game. Throughout the season, the short passing game has been the bread and butter of the Texas offense. Most people believe that the short passing game explains McCoy's ridiculously high completion percentage in the last two years. Surprisingly though, his average yards per completion numbers are not below those of the national leaders in passing. For this game, I look for a couple of things: the average route to be several yards deeper than those we've run all year and for Colt to run more. It was obvious that Greg Davis intentionally shackled Colt early in the season to protect him from injury and to develop the passing game. But Colt is such an effective runner that I think it's a weapon that will be exploited in this game where there is no tomorrow. By playing uptempo, keeping the Bama defense on its heels and breathing hard and hopefully putting up some points early we might force them to play from behind, especially if we get up by two touchdowns. Playing from behind means passing more and that's not the Alabama offensive strength.
If we go three and out on our first couple of possessions and Alabama establishes the run and chews up the clock by pounding it with Ingram and Richardson then the Horns could be in trouble. At that point I'd be looking for a special teams touchdown to shift momentum.
The Tide's quarterback, Greg McElroy (Texan), is underrated in my opinion. He's not flashy, but he's a good game manager and takes care of the football. He's only thrown four interceptions all season. That in itself is pretty remarkable. I look for Muschamp to gamble early and put eight guys in the box to stop their powerful running game. If we can force McElroy to beat us throwing the ball I think Texas wins the game.
A lot has been made of Texas' offensive line woes, but I think that has been overstated. Ndominant Suh made them look like children, but I think they are better than what we witnessed in the Big XII Championship game. Plus, I know they are pissed and looking to prove themselves. They probably lost Colt the Heisman and they know it. I look for them to have a good game. Plus, Bama's d-line stud, Terrence Cody, isn't the same kind of player that Suh is. He's more of a plug up the middle kind of guy who commands double teams and allows linebackers to make plays. Don't look for Cody to have 4.5 sacks, even if he has a great game. No, if he has a great game, Texas' average per rush will be below three yards per carry.
Colt will lead the team in rushing. In the SEC Championship, Tebow led Florida in rushing and averaged over six yards per carry. Colt is a better runner than Tebow; not as powerful, but quicker and faster. If we can spread them out and get them to play nickel all game then Colt can get into the open field. Also, I don't think we've run Shipley on a reverse all season. That was a play that worked well for us last season. I hope we see it at least once this game.
There is nothing that scares me in this game. Because we are underdogs and don't have the Heisman winner we are not expected to win. No pressure. We haven't played our best game yet this season. Our guys have looked loose and Mack has too. I think we are going to win the National Championship.
Texas 24, Bama 16.