It’s time for the last college football game of the 2009 season – and, shed a tear, because it’s hard to believe sports fans are already staring the dreadfully long NBA basketball and Major League Baseball seasons straight in the eye…again. Do they really ever stop playing those sports, or do the networks just stop broadcasting the games for a little bit so we’re under the impression they’re in the “off season”?We can wish, right? Ugh…college football is about to be over, and our life force is about to be taken from each of us for the next eight months.
Luckily for most of the Eyes Of TX readers, your favorite football team likely has one more game, on Thursday night, and is playing for the biggest prize of all – the crystal ball and the national championship – in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. Let’s not lie. It’s been about a month of anticipation and nerves leading up to Thursday’s game, and rather than face the inevitable, I’m going to cop out on the real game analysis for just a little bit longer. So, in the spirit of fun, let’s look at our top five reasons for either a Texas and Alabama win on Thursday – with a humorous (and yet true?) twist.
5 Reasons the Texas Longhorns Will Win
1. Eyes Of TX Attendance. Plain and simple, since a flight to Pasadena and a beautiful postcard-sized ticket the Rose Bowl have my name on it, Texas won’t want to let me down. After all, think of all the horrible things that could be posted here from January 8 until August 2010. Not that I would do that…but I would. Just like in 2005, Texas will want to prove every single media pundit wrong — then, it was ESPN’s self-proclaimed USC dynasty that went down in flames at the hands of the ‘Horns; now, it should be the house that Saban’s built in Tuscaloosa.
2. The right Longhorn gear. For better or worse, I’m very superstitious about game-watching gear…my own, and that of my close friends and girlfriend. Looking at our closet full of Longhorn merchandise, and realizing I have probably kept the University Co-op in business for the past 10+ years on my own, I typically commit to my season game-watching gear (shirt and hat, in particular) in August during two-a-days. Of course, that gear is liable to change based on the team’s play as assessed by me in real-time during a game. So far thus season, my luck has been good – I’ve got a lucky shirt and two lucky hats (I “tried out” another hat against an easier non-conference foe early in the season and it was approved). The gear for the National Championship, you ask? A white, with orange shoulders, short-sleeve Nike Texas coach’s shirt (with the football stitches below the buttons, and Texas stitched across the upper back), and my orange Texas visor. In hindsight, the choice is very Bob Stoops of me. Also in tow will be two different Longhorn (non-bowl game) t-shirts, a Nike orange/white Texas golf hat, and an orange Texas “stash” hat. Don’t get me started on the girlfriend’s wardrobe options – it is more expansive – but, it’s approved. For now.
3. If they don’t win, Will Muschamp might eat someone’s child. You heard me, keep your kids indoors and don’t let them out – not even for the ice cream truck. Give your kids a pager or cell phone so they can “check in” with you often, if need be, or use an invisible fence collar – whatever works to keep them safe from a potentially sulking Muschamp. If the ‘Horns lose, defensive coordinator Will Muschamp is liable to go completely looney bin on the sidelines, perhaps snatching children and old people out of the stands and publicly ridiculing them or eating them for a late evening snack. If the ‘Horns lose, he will be absolutely crazy mad, and that should be enough incentive for the ‘Horns to be inspired on Thursday night. As for me, I’ll keep my fingers and toes away from the sidelines at all times.
4. The Rose Bowl is…home. Seriously, when the players come back to school in the fall semester and they put their name down for the “athletic dorm,” does it just read “Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA”? This is the third time in six years that the ‘Horns have played in the shadows of the California mountains, and something tells me the players like it there. Is it the weather? The women? The celebrities? No one knows for sure, but the Longhorns love the spotlight in Pasadena…and, I can’t complain one bit.
5. Someone from Texas didn’t win the Heisman Trophy. Yep, in 2005 there is no doubt that Texas’ Vince Young got denied in his bid for the Heisman Trophy, awarded to the country’s best college football player. That year, the ‘Horns played USC in the national championship – a team with two Heisman Trophy winners in Matt Leinart and 2005’s winner Reggie Bush. Anyone remember the opening to the broadcast of the game that year? USC’s Will Ferrell and Texas’ Matthew McConaughey commentary – remember?
And, the final score? Net-net, Texas’ odds against Heisman Trophy winners in recent memory – pretty darn good. Sorry, Mark Ingram, but the house of cards will fall soon enough. On Thursday, Texas quarterback Colt McCoy proves he not only has the best name for a Texas QB in the history of the universe, but that he is the best player in college football this year as well.
6. Bonus Reason: Self-explanatory, thank you El Arroyo.
Seriously, those are all legitimate reasons for Texas to take home the crystal ball, and not one Texas fan should fault them. Now, moving on to our friends from the East, let’s take a look at Alabama’s keys to the game.
5 Reasons the Alabama Crimson Tide Will Win
1. Eyes Of TX’s Attendance. Yes, you read right – sound familiar? I’ve officially committed. The game tickets were bought. The plane tickets were booked. The rental car is washed and ready to go at LAX. The hotel was confirmed. The pre-game tailgate was arranged. While I desperately try to redeem myself for my 2005 bailout (where I procrastinated and then choose not to go to the Texas v. USC national championship), I’m committing to cheering the team on in Pasadena this year. The question becomes whether my team is committed to supporting (with a win) my financial investment in joining them in California.
2. Alabama head coach Nick Saban is the devil in disguise (and we think he borrowed the costume from ou head coach Bob Stoops). It’s hard to capture on film, just like Bigfoot or the Lochness Monster, yet when his true devilish persona comes out, it’s hard to control. He has a way of getting his way, that Lucifer. C’mon, do you really think Alabama beat Tennessee by blocking two field goals on their own? No. They had some help from…well…below. His sweet Southern persona won’t get past me, I know what he’s all about. Speaking of Stoops, guess who “happened” to be in Tuscaloosa visiting with Saban last week? You guessed right (slight throw up in my mouth). If this were like the Salem witch trials, Saban would be hung for being in cohorts with the real enemy.
3. Redemption against Major Applewhite. Or Will Muschamp. Both Major Applewhite (UT running backs coach) and Will Muschamp (UT defensive coordinator) have coached under Saban at some point in their young coaching tenures. Both have now ended up at Texas, with Applewhite most recently leaving his offensive coordinator duties under Saban at Alabama to move to the Texas staff. Wouldn’t it be ironic for the Crimson Tide and their coach to exact revenge on those who chose to kick him and his program to the curb in favor of something better?
4. The SEC is the “better conference.” Year-in and year-out, college football pundits from ESPN, ABC, FOX and other related sports entities remind us that the Southeastern Conference comprises the best football teams – on the whole – than any other. This year, perhaps that was true. But, who really cares? In the grand scheme of things, the BCS has proven one thing during it’s existence – and, even then, only to a certain extent. Fans have seen that smaller conference schools, despite being from a “weaker conference,” can compete on the highest levels of competitive athletics. See also: Boise State, TCU and Cincinnati (although the Bearcats should be scolded for laying an egg in the Sugar Bowl this year). In a year when the SEC once again dominated headlines, perhaps Alabama makes its case that the SEC school was the right choice for the national championship game – and best team – in 2010.
5. 7-0-1. No, that’s not a reference to Tim Tebow’s “eye black” Bible verse or a Reggie Bush-like shout-out to his hometown via area code. Rather, it’s Texas’ win-loss record against the Crimson Tide. Alabama has never beaten Texas, although they tied once, in eight attempts – yet the two teams most recently met in 1982. For two of the most storied programs in the history of college football, this is a great statistic (in terms of powerhouse teams playing relatively frequently in their history) and yet it’s too bad the two teams haven’t played more often in recent years. We’ll assume Saban brings some historical perspective and passion to the equation in his pre-game speech and gets the Elephants ready to “roll” on Thursday night for their first victory against the ‘Horns.
Well, the bags are packed, and I’m ready to go. Sunshine and (hopefully) a Texas Longhorn victory await me in Pasadena. My real pre-game analysis to come…when I get the nerve to actually put pen to paper.