Like many Longhorns, I'll be watching the SEC title game in a Dallas sports bar to scout our prospective opponent before walking over to the Death Star for the Corn Husking. Yes, I just counted chickens before they hatched. Barking Carnival has a poultry gynecologist on retainer and a Burger King heat lamp turned incubator that we use to keep Doperbo's perineum bacteriostatic and moist.
Further, I also built an egg womb out of straws in high school and threw it off of a 3rd story building for extra credit in science class. Egg unharmed. So the chickens will hatch. Look, I can get you a chicken.
Some of you will offer contorted emotional reasoning as to why you'd like to take down the collective Tebow Media Wack-Off as you conjure memories of '05 USC and the sweet feeling of driving our fist into perception's lazy teeth, but I'm interested in winning national titles. Plus, I've been detecting a certain degree of whininess in our fan base recently (I'm looking at you fellow Barkers) and that's not really us. I prefer our usual stance of disdainful condescension and smug entitlement. Only a MNC will restore this. The percentages are telling me Tide. It's not because I worship houndstooth or like shelling out more for tickets when Bama Fan takes out a second mortgage on its rolling home to go to Pasadena.
I've watched Bama and Florida quite a bit this year and though the transitive property suggests that Alabama is every bit Florida's equal against a slate of common opponents, football is about matchups and I feel somewhat better about ours against the Tide.
First, I think the crucial matchup is their defense vs our offense. That's largely because I like our defense OK against either of them.
I am under no illusions that we'd fare particularly well against either defense, but I don't need much imagination to envision Florida absolutely wrecking us while Alabama could be made to play in ways that would make them uncomfortable.
The Tide defense is legit, but they are a defense predicated on being bigger, stronger, more physical, and more disciplined than their opponents. Qualities that don't count for much when a bulldog tries to hump a greyhound. I'm exaggerating of course. Bama can run just fine, thank you, but when you have athletes up the middle weighing 360, 260, 215, 220 at NT, ILB, and both safety positions respectively, you're not built for chasing Colts. Alabama is huge. Huge doesn't scare me. Quick scares me.
I guaranfuckin'tee you we go no-huddle, quick tempo on offense to get Mount Cody off of the field and to keep Bama from running in and out substitutions for their big boys. Terrence Cody wouldn't see 30 snaps against us and I question whether Barron or Woodall (the big safeties) can offer us any look other than two deep. They're both really good within their sphere, by the way. But there's a reason that you don't find a lot of 220 pound safeties running around the Big 12. Much less two on the same defense. ILB Rolando McClain will remain in the game in the Bama nickel and knock out at least one Longhorn, I will grant you. He's an evil genius on a football field.
So did you watch Bama's Sugar Bowl beating? What team with a Horn logo on its helmet resembles Utah? Accurate, mobile QB, disciplined WRs that can run a little, undersized defense with a quick DL and has playmakers in the secondary. Hmmm. What's that? Oh, the Tide didn't want to be there. That's why their safeties and LBs kept losing footraces. Ennui. And they were missing their elite 34 DD OT. Still are.
I have no doubt that they'd bring the heat on McCoy and turn any non-Colt involved running game into a shameful travesty (I'll set the over-under of Texas running backs injured at 1.5) and there is a possibility that Javier Arenas and Saban's machinations could singlehandedly erase Jordan Shipley from the game, but this is a defense we could get points on late in the 2nd quarter and in the second half after weathering a quarter and a half of being tossed around. It would require buy-in and some scrappiness and that's something I don't question about this team.
Similarly, I liked what I saw from Auburn when they introduced some formational complexity. Bama busted some coverages, lost edge technique on a reverse, and gave up three honest-to-God TDs to an offense that the Kentucky Wildcats handled; and though they rallied to tap out Auburn when it mattered, Colt McCoy isn't Chris Todd.
Florida's defense is quicker, more athletic, and more capable of punishing our eccentricities. They'd love for us to try to spread them out. Their athletes are better than ours. They're better in the secondary and they would bring enormous pressure off of the edge. We don't have a single RB on our roster that could handle Brandon Spikes on a blitz. If I were drawing up a defense to destroy a Greg Davis offense, it would look a lot like the Florida Gators.
I consider special teams a wash. Both teams can hurt us and will.
Offensively, I like the fact that Bama predicates everything they do on the run and that they don't truly trust their passing game. Nor do they have a QB that can create a cheap first down with his feet. Although it's true that we haven't seen anything remotely like their OL or their execution in the running game, we've at least got schematic answers when they run out of traditional sets. Also, despite what you've been taught to believe - yardage is yardage is yardage. People like to spout platitudes about stopping the run above all, but the truth is it's most important to stop the run situationally - on the goalline, on 3rd and short, 4th and short. Otherwise, I can assure you that a 13 yard run and a 13 yard pass move the sticks similarly. Muschamp would gladly concede 185 yards rushing playing honest defense if Greg McElroy trots out a 8 of 20 for 79 yards and 2 picks statline.
I like Bama's skill players. In many respects they are better than Florida but they lack the QB and offensive imagination to catalyze them. Candidly, our defense isn't a complete one and we want to face offenses that don't force us to make everyone available mano-a-mano. Spread us out and isolate our weaknesses and we can be had. So says A&M, at least.
Granted, Florida has only two playmakers in the passing game and they miss Harvin horribly, but Tebow would certainly present more running problems to us than Jerrod Johnson. They would spread us out and pick on any combination of Gideon and Brewster in the option game and with play action. Tebow is a sufficient passer and that's enough to get what they'd need. How do defenses stymie Tebow? Dropping 7-8 into zone. What has Duane Akina always sucked at teaching? Right.
That's my justification for wanting Alabama. Change my mind.
Who would you want to play and why?