Finally, after an interminable month of waiting, kickoff for the BCS Championship Game between the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (13-0) and No. 2 Texas Longhorns is rapidly approaching.
No more practice, no more media conferences, no more trips to Disneyland.
It's time to play football.
So, who's going to win?
I am so glad you asked.
Here are five reasons why Alabama will beat Texas:
1. Defense. Alabama's defense, led by junior middle linebacker Rolando McClain, has shut down every star quarterback it has played this season, including Florida's Tim Tebow. Texas' Colt McCoy won't be any different. The Tide will put pressure on McCoy with its front line and a variety of blitzes and he will have trouble reading the Tide's multiple coverages in the secondary. Since the Horns won't be able to run the ball, they will have to count on McCoy. He will become frustrated and unable to deliver.
2. Balanced offense. During the middle of the season, sophomore running Mark Ingram carried the Tide's offense, thrusting himself into the Heisman Trophy race, which he eventually won. But late in the season, after a midseason slump, junior quarterback Greg McElroy showed that he could win games throwing the ball. He led the Tide on a masterful game-winning drive in the fourth quarter against arch-rival Auburn on the road and then played so superbly in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game that he earned MVP honors. As an added bonus, star sophomore receiver Julio Jones is now completely healthy.
3. Javier Arenas and Leigh Tiffin. Never underestimate the value of special teams. If Texas punts the ball to Arenas, he will make at least one or two spectacular returns to give the Tide great field position or take it to the house. And should the Tide's offense stall in the red zone -- as it has done at times this season -- Tiffin will put three points on the board. And if the game comes down to a clutch kick in the end (I don't think it will), then Tiffin will come through.
4. Nick Saban has to have some fun. Saban has talked about not liking the "clutter" surrounding the national championship game and the only "fun" he's having is in practice when everything is under his control. Well, he will have fun watching his team go out and take apart the Longhorns and bring him his second national championship.
5. The SEC owns the BCS. A SEC team has won five of the previous 11 BCS championships and is 5-0 in BCS title games. The SEC has won the past three championships, two by Florida and one by LSU. The SEC is the No. 1 conference in the land.
Prediction: Alabama 27, Texas 13.