The stage is officially set:
Alabama, Texas to play for national title
By Tommy Deas and Adam Jones - Tuscaloosa News
December 07, 2009
TUSCALOOSA -- It’s official: The University of Alabama will play for
the program’s 13th national title against the Texas Longhorns on Jan.
7, 2010, at the BCS Championship Game at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl Stadium.
Marcell Dareus (57) puts pressure on Florida quarterback Tim Tebow
(15) in the third in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome on Dec 5, 2009.
“We think the Tournament of Roses is the granddaddy of them all ...
and we’re excited as a university and as a team to have the
opportunity to play in the Rose Bowl,” said Alabama head coach Nick
Saban in a media conference call Sunday night. “We feel this is a
Alabama, 13-0, beat defending national champion Florida 32-13 on
Saturday in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game in Atlanta
to earn its berth. The Longhorns, also undefeated at 13-0, pulled out
a last-second 13-12 victory over Nebraska in the Big 12 title game on
Saturday night to advance.
“We are honored to play such a great team like the University of
Alabama and their coach in coach Nick Saban, who I have tremendous
respect for. Those guys have done such a great job,” said Texas head
coach Mack Brown, who won a national championship with the Longhorns
in the Rose Bowl in 2005.
The game will be televised on ABC, with the pregame program starting
at 7 p.m. Central time.
The Crimson Tide finished No. 1 in the Bowl Championship Series
ratings released Sunday, the final ratings before the title game.
Texas was No. 2.
“We know Texas is a great program and a great team, but, you know,
great moments are created by great opportunities, and this is a great
opportunity for any team,” Saban said Sunday on the BCS selection
show on Fox. “I’m really pleased and happy and proud of our team to
have this opportunity.”
While Texas wasn’t impressive in beating Nebraska, the Longhorns
finished comfortably ahead of No. 3 Cincinnati in the BCS ratings,
which are calculated by a formula that combines polls and computer
Said Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, a Heisman Trophy candidate and
college football’s all-time winningest quarterback with a 45-7 record
as a starter, “Give all the credit to our team. We found a way to win.
Our defense played great. Offensively we weren’t clicking as well as
we wanted to be all night, but that’s a tribute to our team to find a
way to win.
“I’m so thankful that we have one more shot, and that’s to play
Alabama in the national championship.”
The national title game will pit two of college football’s most
storied programs against each other for the crystal national title
trophy. Alabama claims 12 national championships and the Longhorns
claim four, although Texas has actually been recognized as national
titlist nine times by one or more sources.
Texas is college football’s No. 2 all-time program in victories with
845 wins. Alabama passed Penn State this season to move up to No. 6
in all-time wins with 812.
“There’s so much tradition and there’s so much passion,” Saban said
when asked about Alabama’s history. “There’s great expectations for
what people would like to accomplish, and what has been accomplished
in the past is probably as unique as any college program in the
country, so it’s been a tremendous self-gratification for everybody
in the organization. ...
“We’re extremely proud of the program that we have and what the
program has been able to accomplish in the three years that we’ve
Saban also reflected on Alabama’s one-sided win over the Gators, who
entered the game with the nation’s longest winning streak.
“It was a great win,” Saban said. “We were very proud of the way our
team played. I think our team played with a lot of character in the
game, competed extremely well — I’ve never been prouder of a team in
terms of everybody sort of just playing great. “It was a wonderful,
wonderful win. I was so happy.”
Saban said the UA coaching staff was unable to narrow down candidates
for weekly player-of-the-game honors. “We tried to come up with a
player of the game today in terms of watching the offensive film, we
had to give it to the entire team,” Saban said. “Our offensive line
did a fantastic job, all three runners did a great job and I think
Greg (McElroy) would be the first one to tell you his great success
in the game was created by his teammates, his receivers and all the
people around him. It was a great offensive effort to be able to move
the ball as well as we did against a very fine Florida defense.”
Saban praised Texas’ offense and defense. Texas defensive coordinator
Will Muschamp was Saban’s defensive coordinator at LSU when the
Tigers won the 2003 national title game. “I think Texas will probably
have as good a offensive players as anybody we’ve faced all year and
I know they’ve got a great defense, No. 1 defense,” Saban said. “Will
Muschamp does a great job, Mack (Brown, head coach) does a great job
with the overall program. This is going to be a challenging game for
Alabama has never beaten Texas, going 0-7-1 against the Longhorns.
The two last met in the 1981 Cotton Bowl, a Longhorn victory. However,
Alabama does have a good record in the Rose Bowl. UA is 4-2-1 in the
Rose Bowl, which includes a regular season loss to UCLA in 2000. The
last time the Crimson Tide played a post-season game in the Rose Bowl
was 1946, a victory over Southern California.
Texas is playing in the Rose Bowl for the third time in the past six
years, winning games there in 2005 and 2006.