I have thought about this a good deal. and watched the ESPN bowl show, and listened to both Mack Brown and Nick Saban talk about this matchup. Texas is going to have a chip on their shoulder, there is no doubt about that. They are a very good defensive football team. Their quarterback is very good, and they have some playmakers, particularly Craig Shipley, McCoy's favorite target and a fine punt returner. I said earlier that I thought Texas may not have deserved to play for the national championship, that TCU and Cincy may have been more deserving. But that's how the system worked this year. Texas went undefeated as did TCU, Cincy and Boise State, and, of course, Bama. The BCS selected Texas, so that's the way it is.
The analysts on ESPN asked Saban if Will Muschamp and Major Applewhite–former coordinators on Saban's staff at one time– would have an advantage against Alabama. Saban said that is overrated. He's probably right. Saban knows both those guys, too, and coaches on his staff have coached with these guys. I think it gives Texas some help, but the Alabama coaches could cancel that out.
My friend John Cox asked me what would happen if Alabama played against Texas the way the played against Auburn. It would be a close game and Texas could win. But you look at the Alabama-Auburn game and the Texas-Nebraska game and both opponents of the top two teams played great football games; Auburn on both sides of the ball and Nebraska on defense. Alabama made a great comeback against Auburn and had an amazing drive to win it. Texas did just enough against Neb. I give Alabama the edge if both play the same type games they played against Auburn and Nebraska.
Then there's the David vs. Goliath factor. If I'm Nick Saban, I might put a moratorium on his players watching TV, listening to radio and reading the papers after Christmas. There is going to be a lot of talk about Alabama blowing out Texas, though that could change as the media is now saying that the Tide may be overconfident come Jan. 7, 2010. Saban should only bring up the Utah game and the fact that this is the biggest games of his players' lives to counteract that.
It will be a competitive game for a while, still I like the Tide. Just have better personnel. Tide coaching is an edge also. Greg McElroy is just as good as Colt McCoy when he is playing his best and Alabama is better at running back and wide out. The line is better, too. Alabama has an offensive edge no doubt, and the defense is better. If Alabama can guard against overconfidence they should win this game by 10-14 points.