Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Alamo, Part II

Tonight's Alabama-Texas BCS game really doesn't look to me like much of a match-up. I have nothing against Texas in the broad sense (putting aside the Bush debacle and now the turf at Reliant Stadium), but I don't see this one ending well for the Horns. In bowl games like this, we tend to see the strength of teams accentuated because of the extra time to prepare and coach. Tonight we're going to see a ton of pressure on McCoy, and there are going to be some big plays made by the defense through their extensive blitz package.

McCoy simply doesn't have the skill or weapons to attack the Alabama defense. Tide defenders like Rolando McClain are going to look like superstars on account of their superior athleticism and the inability of Texas to handle that element. There's going to be a play early on where Shipley catches a 5 yard pass across the middle and gets decked when this all becomes pretty evident. Remember what Ndamukong Suh did against Texas last month? Suh is better than any individual Tide defender, but Alabama has a huge array of athletes of that same ilk.

The entire Texas offense is predicated on efficient passing from McCoy, and subsequently when opposing defenses are able to disrupt the timing (whether through pressure or coverage), things go all to hell. In the two games against competition similar to what he'll see tonight, Nebraska and Okahoma, he threw for an average of 155 yards, and a total of 1 TD and 4 INTs. On the running side, the Alabama defensive line is big enough and fast enough to control a mediocre Texas Offensive line without committing extra men to the box, and there's enough speed in the back 7 to prevent any long runs. To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if Texas only ran for 50 yards all night, and would be stunned if it really became a big part of the offense. It's just not their game.

On the other side of the ball, I've never been a huge fan of the Alabama offense but they appear strong enough to grind out some points. Ingram is tough, but I'm pretty ambivalent on the QB McElroy. That being said, I'm thinking they may get some short fields and I think you'll see a big play or two from Julio Jones. He's a monster WR and has been quiet for stretches, but he seems like someone who will make a big play on national TV. I like the Texas defense somewhat, but they seem like a defense predicated on playing from ahead. Look for Alabama to just wear them down.

The Texas defense absolutely lives on turnovers (they were tied for second nationally with 35--about 3 a game), but they are highly unlikely to get much help there tonight. Alabama has only had 10 turnovers all year, and they aren't going to get into the types of situations that tend to breed turnovers, like throwing into coverage on a 3rd and 13 situation.

Overall, I like the Tide, 27-13. I don't see Texas consistently moving the ball well enough to get past 20 points, and the Tide offense is tough enough to get that number. I'm guessing the Texas offense gets a little shell shocked in the first half and the halftime score is around 16-6. If Texas is going to win, they MUST get a big play or 2 from special teams or a defensive TD. But I just don't see it happening, on account of how safe the Alabama offense plays everything.

That's how I see it all playing out, but hey, they don't play it on paper. Unfortunately for Texas, this is going to go badly on both.

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