(We're starting to wrap up the season, so new posts will be here - the "Bowl Central" link at the top of the left sidebar will take you to that overall breakdown.)
BCS National Championship Game
January 7, 8:00pm
(13-0) ___________ SEC _________ 589.24
__________YPG = 413.2 (123%) → +8%
PPG = 30.6 (145%)
________dYPG = 256 (66%) → -1%
_________dPPG = 11.9 (41%) → -16%
(13-0) ____________ Big12 ________ 487.27
YPG = 425.0 (115%)
+21% ← PPG = 40.7 (166%)__________
dYPG = 258.5 (67%)
dPPG = 15.2 (57%)
Alright, let's get to the big'un.
A lot of people are looking at the Big12 & SEC Championship games and declaring Alabama the winner, based on how they did in those two situations. We know Bama was dominant, but I'm not so inclined to jump on Texas' troubles against Nebraska, especially considering what the Huskers did to Arizona in the Holiday Bowl. But that's not the whole picture.
Let's look at bowl records for a bit. The last time Saban (with LSU) & Brown met up was in the 2002 Cotton Bowl, which the Longhorns won 35-20. Overall this decade, Saban is 4-3 in bowls, including 2-1 in BCS bowls: Brown is 7-2 in bowls, including 3-0 in BCS bowls. Edge Texas.
According to my rankings, the Tide achieved significantly more than the Longhorns this year, mainly because they played a tougher schedule - only 3 of Bama's opponents were in the red, or below average, while 7 of the Longhorn's opponents were in the red. Bama also racked up the three best wins between these two, over Florida, Virginia Tech, and LSU. Edge Bama.
In the Stats categories, Texas has an edge on offense. Even including their Big12 championship game performance, they average over 400 yards and 40 points a game, the latter of which is a whopping 166% more than their opponents usually allow. The Tide gain just as many yards, but they don't put up the same number of points. As far as D goes, the gap isn't as wide as some might think. Both give up around 250 yards per game and around 2 TD's.
In the SEC championship game, Alabama was able to play their game the whole time, making Florida adjust and flail in the process, winning big. In the Big12 championship game, Texas was forced to play Nebraska's game and struggled the whole way - but they still won. So even if Alabama does everything they want to do, don't look for Texas to just roll over. They have the ability to stick around and be good enough to get it done. So while a lot of signs point to Alabama, I think the intangibles are in Texas' favor.
Overall, I think this could go any direction - either team could win big, or it could come down to the last play. Hopefully it'll be an exciting one. This bowl season I'm 19-14 straight up, and 15-16-2 against the spread. Not as good as I'd hoped, but not horrible.
The Line: Texas +4
The Call: Texas by 4
The Result: Alabama 37-21
There will be volumes written about McCoy shoulda coulda woulda. But the only things that need to be said are that it's a physical game, injuries happen, and sometimes you get unlucky. That's it.
Major props to the Longhorns for not giving in, for stifling the Bama offense for much of the second half, and for being able to adjust enough to make it a closer game than many thought halfway through the first quarter. Hell, they even gained more yards than the Tide.
But Bama just wouldn't be stopped. Though they were bending the whole second half, they didn't break and were able to bring the hammer at the very end to put it away. Discipline and toughness will get you a long way. They might just be even tougher next year.