This isn’t how I wanted them to win — granted, to build one’s team on a single player is folly — and I’ll certainly celebrate it, but Alabama didn’t beat the Longhorn’s best game. At the same time, though, a win is a win. At this level of football, you have to be able to play, and play well, after losing starters. Gilbert eventually came around, but not soon enough.
The 2009 national title game is an object lesson in the old saw about defense winning championships. McElroy had a crappy night, and depended largely on the running game — which is by definition less productive than today’s high-flying, high-scoring passing attacks. The forced turnovers, though, sealed Texas’ fate.
The final note is this: The SEC remains undefeated in BCS title play at 6-0:
- ’98 Tennessee over FSU
- ’03 LSU over Oklahoma
- ’06 Florida over Ohio State
- ’07 LSU over Ohio State
- ’08 Florida over Oklahoma
- ’09 Alabama over Texas
The Big XII has played for the title more times (7), but only brought home the trophy twice (OU over FSU in ’00, and Texas over USC in ’05).
The SEC has also sent more teams to the title game (4: Tenn., LSU, UF, UA) than any other conference. Again, the runner-up is the Big XII (OU, UT, Neb.).
Outside the SEC-Big XII sphere, things drop off quickly: No other conference has sent more than one winner, and only one (Big East) has even sent more than one team (they’re 1-2; Miami won and lost, and VaTech lost). The much-ballyhooed Pac10 has only ever sent USC, and it doesn’t look like that’ll happen again soon. The Big 10 has only ever sent Ohio State, who (prior to this year) appeared largely content to lose in the postseason.
Roll Tide. Hail Saban. Praise Ingram. See you in August.