SEC! SEC! SEC!
I live in Texas, so....
SEC!! SEC!! SEC!!
How many Gator fans are vacationing in California right now, thanks to broken plans to attend this game? To start with, 2 of we 4 Gatorsfirst.com founders, and the third lives in California, so he wouldn't count anyways. And I had all the plans minus the plane tickets (American Airlines miles would have covered it), so in my world it seems a great number of Gator fans must have had to change their plans. Which I'm crediting for the stories surrounding a struggle to sell Sugar Bowl tickets.
Anyway, the day is upon us. Time to focus on Bama and Texas. Let's get this kicked off (awful pun intended)...
Why Texas Will Win
Kirk Herbstreit was on national and local ESPN radio today playing up this theory, one I had been considering in Florida's case and not really thought about applying to Texas... but I like it. It goes like this: Texas (Florida) had crushing expectations all season long. Instead of enjoying an UNDEFEATED run through January (December, in UF's case), fans and national pundits alike focused on &only& winning games by 10-14 points and the &moral victories& other teams were racking up... until those expectations came to a head in the conference championship games. Florida and Texas both didn't show up to those games as we expected, it just so happened Florida was playing against a highly motivated team, a team that was ranked #1 just 365 days before, and a team that also ended up playing the game of their lives, while Texas was playing against a motivated and vastly overmatched team, but also had a generous clock operator on their side.
Anyway, Herbstreit's theory was that the pressure is off now, and Texas will come to play. If you love football betting, and you know I do, it's definitely something to consider. With the long layoff before bowl games, we always, ALWAYS need to consider the emotional state of each team. And even when all the marbles are on the line, these things don't shake out equally (see: Ohio State v Florida, one glorious January evening in Glendale, AZ circa 2007). Of course, it's a tough thing for your sports betting career to depend on correctly guessing the collective state of roughly 100 18-22 year old minds.
I guess it doesn't hurt Texas that the Heisman-curse thing is on their side. But I think that Roy Upchurch and Trent Richardson may be as good or better than Ingram, and the Heisman was better off being handed to the Alabama offensive line, or the Florida defense's Matador's cape.
Why Alabama Will Win
1. They won the SEC. Sorry, but the trend is undeniable. Makes you wonder how much more the rest of the (unenlightened) football world would hate us if Auburn had gotten a fair shake in 2004. I only half-joke every time I spout my playoff idea that we go to a Little League World Series format, with the SEC being like the US and the rest of college football being like the World. It's always US v. World in the title game. SEC Champ gets an auto-berth to the BCS Title. I think we've earned it.
2. Did you see the Sugar Bowl? Or the Big XII Championship game? Or the Texas A&M game? Or watched either of these two teams ALL SEASON?
3. I'd still take Urban Meyer.... but Nick Saban is easily the only other guy to argue for the top coach in college football, right? Mack Brown has won a championship, but Bob Stoops is the best coach in that league- just stack up the conference championships against each other.
4. This is a biggie: back to that emotion theory we had going as an argument for Texas. I buy into Herbstreit's theory up until he thinks the pressure is off now. Everyone in the world had Florida and Texas or Oklahoma in the BCS CG as a preseason prediction. After the BYU game, it's been Florida and Texas. Florida didn't play sans-pressure until they actually dropped the game (here's where the NFL theory of 'losing a game before the playoffs' means that the bowl system might not be all bad)... Texas still hasn't lost, so they could come out and lay another egg. They certainly haven't resembled a great team since before Thanksgiving.
Who do ya got?