College Football Corner: Bama, Horns for It All - TheStreet

College Football Corner: Bama, Horns for It All

No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Texas meet in the BCS National Championship Game Thursday evening in Pasadena, Calif.
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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Texas are getting ready to consummate what has been a terrific bowl season -- on a Thursday night.

When will the NCAA and the television networks or Washington politicians for that matter -- realize the enormous commerical and economic benefit that could redound from playing this game on college football's true day -- Saturday.

Think of the pre-game parties, the commercials, the number of beer and wings sold. It could spark a mini-economic boom -- "Super Saturday" -- a month before the Super Bowl. If anyone can figure out why this hasn't happened yet, drop us a comment on this story.

That indoor game

Ohio State



played a couple of years ago on a Monday gave the impression that not many people were watching. Maybe it was the lighting or something. Most people are likely too caught up with work and their home life on most weeknights, and this college football showcase deserves a better platform. Oh well, at least we're moving deeper into the week with tonight's game.

Now let's get to the

BCS National Championship game

. And away we go. --

William Hennelly

Mark Ingram. Colt McCoy. Rolando McClain. Jordan Shipley. Terrence Cody. Sergio Kindle. Julio Jones. Earl Thomas. Greg McElroy.

The star wattage in this game is stunning, to say the least, and reports have discussed each of the aforementioned players ad nauseam. Still, when examining the rosters, it's difficult to find a clear-cut advantage that isn't countered from the other side. For instance, Alabama may boast the toughest running game on the 'Horns' season schedule, but Texas can counter with a spread passing attack the likes of which doesn't exist in the SEC.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban

Most insist that games are won and lost on the field and not on paper. But bowl games are unique animals with unique atmospheres all their own. That's why a better indicator of which team has the edge may be the respective head coaches themselves.

On the surface, the two could not seem more different in their approach. Mack Brown comes across as the glad-hander, who's I'm-just-happy-to-be-here demeanor, country-fried Southern drawl and ability to recall everybody's name belies an enviable coaching record few can match. And Nick Saban, the toast of the college football world at the moment, is portrayed as cold, intensely focused and detail-oriented, conjuring images of Bill Belichick, only with a finer wardrobe.

Texas Coach Mack Brown

Brown is 7-3 in his last 10 bowl appearances. More importantly, he's made the postseason his personal showcase of late, rattling off five straight bowl wins in the last half decade. The skins on his wall during that run read like a program for a class of inductees at a Hall of Fame for college football coaches, with consecutive wins over Lloyd Carr, Pete Carroll, Kirk Ferentz, Dennis Erickson and Jim Tressel.

In the last 730 days, this Brown-coached squad has won 26 of its last 27 games, with the lone loss coming after a last-second

Texas Tech

touchdown under a hostile, nighttime Lubbock sky.

Call me a homer (I am a Texas alumnus), but something tells me Brown has figured out how to handle bowl games, preparation and pressure on the biggest stages.

By comparison, Saban is 4-6 in his last 10 bowl appearances, with his most recent bowl loss coming during an improbably ugly defeat to


in last year's Sugar Bowl. Seemingly lost in the South's anointing of Saban as Bear Bryant's rightful heir is this fact -- one of those bowl losses came at the hands of Brown.

In 2003, Saban's


squad went up 17-7 by the second quarter against Brown's two-loss Texas squad in the Cotton Bowl, only to fall 35-20 after a furious Longhorn rally (I should know, I was there).

Sure, the BCS National Championship is not the Cotton Bowl. And, yes, that LSU squad would probably quake at the site of Saban's Crimson Tide machine today.

Just after Alabama seized the SEC crown from


in December, the story goes that Nick Saban drew a straight line on a grease board for all of his players to see. The line, which stretched across the room, was meant to represent the distance and time between the SEC title game and the national championship game tonight. It was to serve as a reminder to all at the 'Tide team meeting that there were 32 days between the two points, and how the players managed those days -- conditioning, awards banquets, food, media -- would determine the outcome of the game. He called that stuff "clutter."

But with Saban's own sub-.500 bowl record of late clouding his sparkling resume, and with Brown jovially taking steps toward college football immortality if he captures his second national championship in four years, the pre-game message may just have been a reminder to himself.

Corner's choice: Texas 31, Alabama 13

--Sung Moss

This is supposed to be Alabama's year, as the Tide is big and strong on both sides of the ball, has the Heisman Trophy-winner in sophomore running back Mark Ingram and the no-nonsense, locked-in head coach in Nick Saban.

Alabama running back Mark Ingram

Texas, a slight underdog coming off a great escape from the Nebraska Cornhuskers and their consensus No. 1 draft pick Ndamukong Suh in the Big 12 championship game, has the affable Colt McCoy at quarterback and the soothing head coach in Mack Brown. Remember the last time Texas played in a BCS title game against an invincible foe. That's right, Vince Young sauntered to the end zone against USC and into a hail of burnt orange and white confetti and college football immortality. Don't think it can't happen again.

Texas receiver Jordan Shipley

It may seem foolhardy to favor Texas after watching Bama subdue the great Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators, who then went on to dismantle a talented Cincinnati team in the Sugar Bowl. But Texas has the defense to knock heads with Alabama upfront, and if McCoy can get some time - more than he did against Nebraska -- then it's possible that Texas' breakaway receiver Jordan Shipley will be sprinting toward paydirt more than Alabama and Saban would like.

Corner's choice: Texas 26, Alabama 21

-- William Hennelly

Corner kicks

: Among the highlights of the bowl season was the Big Ten shedding its big-game flop image.

Ohio State

was practically flawless in a victory over the theretofore explosive


Ducks in the Rose Bowl.


used a stifling defense in a dominating Orange Bowl victory over

Georgia Tech


Penn State

knocked off


. Wisconsin beat

"the U."


put up some huge numbers on


before falling in OT. A 6-6

Michigan State

team gave

Texas Tech

a run for its money. ... Elsewhere,

Boise State

bottled up what had been another heretofore explosive team in


in the Fiesta Bowl, and of course threw in a signature trick play that pretty much decided the outcome. Maybe Boise -- which draws its players from across the U.S. map -- will be taken seriously for good now -- as in BCS championship game-serious. The men who prowl that blue field are one tough out, which is why few big-name teams want to play them.

-- William Hennelly

The Corner is written by Scott Eden, Sung Moss and William Hennelly in New York's Canyon of Heroes


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This article was written by a staff member of