- Bama DL vs. TX OL – We know that the Longhorns haven’t rushed effectively all year long, and Mt. Cody stuffs the inside rushing attack in Saban’s/ Smart’s 3-4 scheme. So the keys where are: (1) Can the Tide’s DL get to McCoy without selling out (bringing 4), and disrupting TX’s vaunted passing attack? OBTW, the TX OL averages giving up close to 2.5 sacks, even in the gun and with mostly quick routes. (2) Can TX get to the edge in rushing attack to at least slow down those charging elephants up front? IMO TX needs 90-115 yds rushing, from RB’s, to take enough pressure off of Colt in order to have a chance to win. TX top rusher, Tre Newton, averages < 40 yds/gm. (You mean to tell me in the GR8 state of TX, which averages producing nearly 12 Top 100 players each and every year – 107 since 2002 by Rivals, you can’t find 5 OL that know how to run & pass block and a bruising RB?!?!? Guess it shows the proliferation of the Spread offenses @ the HS level in that state. Smh – unbelievable.)
- Colt McCoy – Is he the next VY (a great college QB)? He’s the ‘haveto’ player on the Longhorns team. He is responsible for nearly 300 of total offense (296.92 / gm). Yet his numbers completion percentage and pass efficiency have dropped this year. In his 2 games against Top 20 pass defenses this year he’s avg. only 155 yds/ gm, and has thrown only 1 TD to 4 picks in those games. Most of his prolific numbers have come in games, where the pass defenses’ ranked on average 87th (the average pass defense rank without Neb. & OU). Colt McCoy needs to hit on close to 70% of his passes, convert yards to TD’s and make plays with his legs when receivers are covered. Colt – it’s own you, if TX wins; use Jordan Shipley and his 106 receptions effectively to help you. However, no QB looks good with his shoulders parallel to the ground, just ask Ndamukong Suh.
- Special Teams – Both excellent PR returners, both excellent KR, (Jordan Shippley 14th best & DJ Monroe ranks 2nd in nation for TX, respectively and Javier Arenas ranks in the Top 10 in both, 3rd and T-9th respectively for the Tide) both excellent FG kicker (Hunter Lawrence and Tiffin for Tide, leads nation in # of FG/ gm). So Kickoff and Punt Teams (coverage) are crucial for each side. Which special returner can get going, break a tackle and get clear? Also Pat Fitzgerald might tilt ST advantage to Bama over TX, which has used 3 punters on the year and ranks 96th in Net punting. Is there a block on ST and for which side? Is there a key fake, ala Boise?
Why Alabama might win? Bama has the #2 defense (2nd ranked in all 4 defensive categories: Rush, Pass efficiency, Total and Scoring, most importantly). They are “creative” in running schemes double TE sides, etc. Creative leads to committed, which leads to Colt warming the bench. Bama will be committed to the run and Trent Richardson has proven that he’s more than a role player if Ingram struggles for some reason. McElroy is a surprising 26th in Passing efficiency and has the targets (Julio Jones, Marquise Maze and Colin Peek, TE) to hurt you through the air. Most games are won because the OL and DL dominate; you have that advantage and beef – use it. Bama has played in the toughest conference – SEC; been tested (TN, AU and FLA – all different aspects of the team) and came thru. You know you’re good. TX was 1 second and 1 shoe string tackle, by Colt McCoy in the OU game on what looked like it was going to be a pick 6, away from not being there. OBTW, Bama has the better coach despite bowl records.
Bama rolls 24 to 13.