Tonight the teams the BCS selected to play for the title will meet on the wonderfully kept field of the Rose Bowl. Intensity from the teams and their fan bases will create a swirl of crimson and burnt orange. At the end of the night the winner will either be rolling or hooking. Both teams were on a mission to make this game after it eluded them last year and now, after emotional conference title games; Bama smoked Florida in a rematch and Texas had to hit a FG with 1 second left to get past Nebraksa.
In case your scoring at home and even if you are not, those games happened 32 days ago. Despite this being the mythical championship game for the 2009 season, it is far removed from those 13 games. It is a season by its self. A one game season after a month of practice, interviews, and much ballyhoo from media members and message boards. There is no momentum, whether it is the positive kind the Tide had after beating Florida or the negative kind Texas may have had after a bad performance in Dallas. It is a new year, a new season and winning this game depends on who has prepared better, who is sharper mentally, and which team exploits their strengths.
If a team comes out flat from their respite too bad, this is the only chance they get and the clear football is at stake. Colt McCoy has had nowhere near the year he had last year but he is here and all he needs is one good game. His struggles do not matter because he only has to be good tonight. Problem is the Tide is strong up front and will be certain to apply pressure like they did to Tebow and like Nebraska did to Suh. On the other side Greg McElroy's near perfect game against Flroida in Atlanta does not mean anything now. He has to repeat that performance and it has been a long time since he has taken a live game snap. Texas's defense has been their strength this year and they will have their hands full with Heisman winner Mark Ingram and the big Alabama offensive line. The coaches from both teams know this, and know that the other coaching staff knows they know. Everybody knows. They have had weeks to look at film and craft and hone and implement their gameplans. In one sense, there is almost too much time to prepare because as much as Nick Saban would like to believe, do not live in a bubbleand the longer it takes to take the field, the more time there is for players to lose focus, get overconfident, or get a stomach bug.
My lean, like most of the country, is with Alabama. While I do not expect a performance like the SEC title game from the Tide their advantages on the lines cannot be ignored. The trend has been this bowl season that the team that is more physical up front has won the games, and this game should follow suit. I would like to see Texas give them a good game and I think they will. If Texas is razor sharp for 60 minutes then they will take it. Ultimately I think the Tide wins by a touchdown in a game that will be a letdown to watch. However, before we kick things off between the battle of these "college football storied programs"(look for Brent to say that a lot), let's take a look back on some things that have happened in the world since we last saw a game that had an impact on the mythical national championship about to be decided.
-Dick Clark counted us into a new year and decade...sort of.
-Kimbo Slice won a UFC fight
-Mark Ingram won the Heisman, becoming the first Alabama player to do so.
-Mike Leach was suspended, then fired.
-Tiger Woods....enough said.
-TMZ sports was birthed from the canal of the tabloid hungry sports culture we have created.
-Urban Meyer decided to step down as Florida coach to reconnect with one daughter who was happy to have her Dad back and another who wanted to have a meaninful conversation with him. Then he said screw it, family life and chest pains be damned.
-The Colts pissed on history for what they think is a definite Super Bowl run.
-Gilbert Arena did his Cactus Jack impersonation, and got suspended.
-Laker fans showed how much they disliked the Christmas Day officiating, but stayed classy by only tossing harmless foam fingers.
-George Michael died. No not that one, that one.
-Pacquiao vs. Mayweather ran into problems because of testing.
Pot Bobby Knight called out kettle John Calipari for questionable practices in coaching integrity.
-Brian Kelly abandoned his undefeated Cincinnati team to coach Notre Dame.
-Chris Henry died after jumping from his fiance's truck.
-The Big Ten thought about expansion.
-The U put on a show for the country and became ESPN's highest rated documentary ever.
-Roy Williams kicked a guy out of a game at the Dean Dome for yelling "Miss it".
-And 34 bowl games have been played that have no bearing on determining a champion.
Enjoy the game which probably means you have will have to mute Brent.