Sweetwater Reporter (Sweetwater, Tex.), Vol. 112, No. 045, Ed. 1 Thursday, January 7, 2010 Page: 7 of 10
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Thursday, January 7, 2010 ■ Page 7
Citi BCS National Championship
Texas (13-0, 8-0 Big 12)
vs. Alabama (13-0,8-0 SEC)
7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 7
Alabama's special teams will have its hands full with
Texas returner Jordan Shipley.
Brown 's successor
is a clone of Saban
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) - Will Muschamp
hasn't spoken with his coaching mentor in months.
As the defensive coordinator and head coach des-
ignate for the Texas Longhorns, Muschamp is plenty
busy, but he still likes to keep up with the guy who
taught him so much. Problem is, the other coach is
busy, too. And he's old school — doesn't text or e-mail
or anything like that. So it's understandable that
months have passed without any contact.
Finally, tonight, a few hours before the BCS champi-
onship game, they'll have a brief reunion on the field
of the Rose Bowl, sharing a hug and spending a few-
minutes catching up on things.
Then Muschamp will go to the Texas sideline,
Alabama coach Nick Saban will go to his sideline and
they'll spend the next few hours trying to outsmart
"I've said it before and I'll say it again: I wouldn't be
where I am if it weren't for the opportunities that Nick
gave me," Muschamp said. "I've got the utmost respect
Muschamp was 29 and coming off his first season as
the defensive coordinator at Division II Valdosta State
when Saban hired him at LSU. A year later, Muschamp
became the defensive coordinator, and the year after
that the Tigers won the national championship. Then
Saban went to the Miami Dolphins and Muschamp fol-
lowed as his defensive coordinator, even though some
of the players were older than him.
One year later, Muschamp went back to college,
leading the Auburn defense. Saban ended up at rival
Alabama and they went head-to-head for the first and
only time in 2007.
Longhorns fans, take note. The scorecard in their
personal rivalry reads Muschamp 1, Saban o.
"I know Will is looking forward to it," said Cowboys
linebacker Bradie James, who played for LSU during
the Saban-Muschamp years and remains close with
both coaches. "I know Will definitely wants to beat
him. They definitely have a friendly type of rivalry. It'll
Considering Muschamp is somewhat of a Saban
clone, it's no surprise that Texas and Alabama run simi-
lar schemes — and have similar results.
The No. 2 Longhorns have the stingiest run defense
in the country, allow the third-fewest yards and the
eighth-fewest points. The No. 1 Crimson Tide are top
seven in every major defensive category.
"I think philosophically and schematically we believe
a lot of the same things," Muschamp said. "We believe
the same way to coach and motivate, so I think that's
probably why we got along."
Blue bloods play for t He
NEWPORT BEACH, Cal-
if. (AP) — Mack Brown wore
a gray suit. Nick Saban was
The two men shook hands
in front of the national
championship trophy, look-
ing as much like candidates
for governor before election
day as football coaches get-
ting ready for the big game.
Then again, they prob-
ably could run for governor,
given what football means
in their respective states.
Saban coaches Alabama,
where the Crimson Tide
makes news 365 days a
year. Brown coaches Texas,
where football on every level
is often larger than life.
The undefeated Crimson
Tide and Longhorns will
each try to add another
championship to their cons-
iderable pedigrees Thursday
night. It's a meeting of two
old-line programs from the
South — Roll Tide vs. Hook
'em Horns — where foot-
ball, on many days, is the
biggest thing going.
'Everyone that sees that
A' and sees the Longhorn
knows the programs," Brown
said, "and that's what makes
this game so special."
The game will pit All-
American quarterback Colt
McCoy of Texas against the
player who beat him for
the Heisman Trophy, run-
ning back Mark Ingram of
In his third year in
Tuscaloosa, Saban has led
a quick rebuilding program,
aiming to bring the first
championship to the school
since 1992, when Gene
Stallings — a protege of the
late, great Bear Bryant —
roamed the sidelines.
"We have a tremendous
amount of respect for the tra-
dition and the passion that
our fans have," Saban said.
But, he said, tradition
doesn't win ball games.
Players like Ingram and
350-pound defensive line-
man Terrence Cody do. So,
Saban has tried to ignore
the hype and has gone about
doing what he did six years
ago when he led LSU to the
BCS title: recruit top pros-
pects, coach them up, try to
turn them into good play-
ers, students and citizens.
"The rest of it really
doesn't affect that," Saban
Brown grew up in small-
town Tennessee and saw
Bryant as the larger-than-
life figure he was, the same
way anyone of a certain age
from that part of the coun-
Now, he's at Texas. Once
derisively known as "Coach
February" — the guy who
could recruit all the tal-
ent but never cash in come
January — Brown has won
seven of his last eight bowl
games, led the Longhorns
(13-0) to one national title
and can easily be men-
tioned in the same breath as
their own legendary coach,
He tells his players to
focus on the "three Fs."
"I wasn't the smartest guy
in the world, so one day I
said it's full of 'Fs' — it's
fast, have fun, be physi-
cal," Brown said. "They
all laughed. Some of them
didn't get it. That bothered
Kidding aside, Brown
used Wednesday's news
conference to continue a
theme he's been building
on all month — that the
two best teams are meet-
ing at the Rose Bowl and a
true national champion will
come out of the game.
It was a legitimate debate
five weeks ago when the
BCS pairings came out and
there were five undefeated
teams — Alabama, Texas,
Cincinnati, TCU and Boise
State. Since then, Cincinnati
got blown out 51-24 by
Florida in the Sugar Bowl
and TCU lost 17-10 to Boise
State in the Fiesta Bowl. It
leaves the Broncos as the
only team with an argument
— one they undoubtedly
Alabama (13-0) conies
into the game as a four-point
favorite, in part because the
Tide was so much more
impressive than Texas in its
Led by Ingram on offense
and a stifling defense
anchored by Cody and line-
backer Rolando McCIain,
the Tide shut down Tim
Tebow in a 3 2 -13 crushing of
Florida in the Southeastern
Conference title game.
Texas, meanwhile, beat
Nebraska 13-12 in the Big 12
championship game, after
officials put a second back
on the clock following a pass
McCoy threw out of bounds.
It allowed Hunter Lawrence
to kick the winning field
goal, even though McCoy's
sloppy game management
at the end nearly cost Texas
a chance to win it all.
Even though both teams
won, those games essential-
ly sealed the Heisman race.
McCoy threw for 184 yards,
three interceptions and got
sacked nine times. Ingram
ran for 113 yards and three
touchdowns to become
Alabama's first Heisman
Which sets up a very sim-
ilar scenario as the last time
Texas played at the Rose
If Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy plays the way he did against Florida, the
Texas defense could be in for a long night.
SEC goes for its fourth
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) - Julio
Jones was asked about the Texas defense
and repeated the answer that so many of
his Alabama teammates have given lead-
ing up to the BCS national championship
"It's just like an SEC team, how they
play the game," the Tide receiver said
earlier this week.
As if there was no greater compliment
than comparing the Longhorns to South
Carolina or Kentucky. As if the greatest
praise one could bestow upon on a col-
lege football team is declaring that, yes,
this team could play in the Southeastern
Competing in a league that has pro-
duced three consecutive national cham-
pions — something never done before
— certainly helps justify Alabama's high
opinion of the SEC.
And it's a feeling shared by many,
though somewhat begrudgingly.
"The SEC is the best conference," ESPN
analyst Kirk Herbstreit said Wednesday.
"But I do sense just from a fan's perspec-
tive once you get outside the region, it is
the SEC versus the world."
So it's safe to say that more than
just Texas fans would like to see the
Longhorns take Alabama — and with it
the SEC — down a peg Thursday night
in the Rose Bowl, denying the league a
fourth straight title.
SEC football dates back to 1933 and
in many ways it unifies the Deep South
like nothing else. As fierce as the rival-
ries are within the conference, fans and
players are passionate in their support
for each other when teams step outside
"It's almost become a fraternity of the
South," Alabama tight end Colin Peek
said. "I have a lot of friends at Florida
who all want to see us win. They almost
want to say the national championship
game is decided on Dec. 5 in Atlanta."
SEC football has never been more pop-
ular or more lucrative. The conference
distributed $132.5 million to its 12 mem-
bers last year, the majority of which came
from the television rights for football.
Those figures are a lock to go up this
year as the money starts pouring in from
the league's new 15-year TV deals with
ESPN and CBS.
"I think one of the things that sort of
sets the SEC out a little bit is the great
TV package and great exposure that we
get with having as many as three games
on national TV every week," Tide coach
Nick Saban said.
On TV and at the bank, the SEC can
claim another season as No. 1 in college
football. Saban said the SEC's depth is
what separates it from other leagues.
"Where most leagues have two or three
or four good teams, our league seems to
have seven, eight or nine or 10 some-
times," he said.
This year, while Alabama and Florida
have clearly been among the top three
or four teams in the country all along,
though the rest of the league hasn't been
quite so scary.
Heading into the bowl season, in fact,
LSU was the only other SEC team ranked
in the AP Top 25.
And this hasn't been a banner post-
season for the SEC. The league put 10
teams in bowls and its record stands at
5-4 heading into the BCS championship
game. That includes Arkansas' overtime
victory against an East Carolina team
that missed four field goals and Auburn's
overtime win as a touchdown-favorite
But the bottom line is that an SEC
team, again, will play for the national
title on the final night of the season.
"Our most difficult challenge is main-
taining the success we've had over the
years," SEC commissioner Mike Slive
Last year, the Big 12 seemed as if it
might have surpassed the SEC, but a dis-
appointing bowl season combined with
Florida's victory against Oklahoma in the
BCS title game made it hard to dispute
that King Football still reigned in the
This season, the Big 12 slipped even
further than the SEC, with Oklahoma
and Texas Tech unable to match last
The Big 12's troubles led to increased
scrutiny of Texas. Some critics even
questioned whether the Longhorns were
indeed one of the two best teams in
the country, especially after Texas' 13-12
victory against Nebraska in the Big 12
Following that game Texas coach Mack
Brown made sure to point out that in the
SEC that type of defensive struggle would
be touted as a thing of beauty.
"We have not had as many good teams
in the Big 12 (as in the SEC)," said Brown,
who grew up in Tennessee. "We've had
some great teams."
The problem for the Big 12 — and the
Big Ten and the Pac-10, etc., etc. — is that
lately the very best teams have played in
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Sweetwater Reporter (Sweetwater, Tex.), Vol. 112, No. 045, Ed. 1 Thursday, January 7, 2010, newspaper, January 7, 2010; Sweetwater, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth229059/m1/7/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Sweetwater/Nolan County City-County Library.