Colt McCoy is the epitome of class

The college football gods owe Colt McCoy a massive apology, because what they did to him on Thursday night was extremely cruel.

On the fifth play of the 2010 BCS National Championship Game, an Alabama defender hit McCoy on his right side and the quarterback’s arm immediately went dead. He motioned to come out of the game and was replaced by freshman Garrett Gilbert for the remainder of the series.

That was the last time McCoy took a snap for the Texas Longhorns, who eventually fell to Alabama, 37-21.

It’s not fair what happened to McCoy. You could see how distraught he was while having to watch from the sidelines as his team fought an uphill battle. He came back for his senior year for the opportunity to win a national championship and instead he was forced to be a spectator for his team’s biggest moment. For what he did at Texas and for college football, he deserved more than this ending.

But even though he was handed the most unfortunate of breaks, McCoy proved to everyone how much character he has. Following the game, he held back tears while talking to ESPN reporter Lisa Salters about having to watch the game from the sidelines. Nobody would have blamed him if he vented his frustrations or talked about how the outcome of the game would have been different had he played.

But instead, he made it a point of emphasis to congratulate Alabama not once, but twice while wrapping up the interview. And it wasn’t a clichéd, tongue-in-check type of congratulations: It was as sincere as they come.

McCoy managed to muster the strength to congratulate an opponent that had just benefited from one of his darkest moments. Now that’s class.

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Alabama overcomes Saban’s first quarter mistakes to win national title

Those that tuned into the 2010 BCS National Championship Game don’t need a breakdown of what transpired on Thursday night: Alabama took advantage of a Colt McCoy shoulder injury and managed to survive a late rally by Texas to cash in a 37-21 victory.

Had McCoy played the entire game, would Texas have won? We’ll never know, although the Longhorns certainly had everything working in their favor early on, taking advantage of one Nick Saban mistake after another.

Saban’s decision to receive instead of putting his defense on the field first was unwise. His decision to fake a punt after the Tide went three and out on their first possession was unnecessary. And his decision not to instruct his return team to call for a fair catch or re-position themselves after Texas had already kicked the ball short at the start of the game was neglectful.

Due to those three decisions, Saban essentially spotted the Longhorns a 6-0 lead. Had McCoy not been hurt, who knows whether or not that 6-0 lead could have been 14-0 to start the game.

Saban obviously deserves enormous credit for turning Alabama’s program around and building a national championship team. What he’s been able to do in such a short period of time has been remarkable and speaks to how good he is at what he does. He’s a motivator, a master game planner and manages to keep young men focused, which cannot be easy to do.

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2010 BCS Bowl Preview: 5 Things to Watch for in the National Championship Game

For the first time since the 2006 Rose Bowl, two undefeated teams will square off in the BCS national championship game when No. 1 Alabama takes on No. 2 Texas on January 7. To conclude our 2010 BCS Bowl Preview, here are five things to watch for in the 2010 title game.

1. Can McCoy rebound?
Senior quarterback Colt McCoy hasn’t had many bad outings throughout his collegiate career, but Nebraska’s defense dominated him in the Big 12 title game. He completed 20 of his 36 pass attempts but it went for only 184 yards and zero touchdowns. He also threw three interceptions as he struggled with his decision-making and his pre-snap reads. It’s not a total shock that McCoy had problems moving the ball on the ninth best defense in the nation, but how will he fair against an Alabama D that ranks second in the country? The Crimson Tide have allowed just 11 points per game this season (best in the NCAA) and just 163.77 passing yards per game. There’s no doubt ‘Bama will study what Nebraska did against McCoy and employ similar tactics to slow him and Texas’ offense down. Can the senior QB overcome his poor outing in the Big 12 championship and lead his team to victory or will the Tide defense abuse him just like the Cornhuskers did?

2. The Heisman winner vs. the No. 1 run defense in the nation
One of the marquee matchups of the bowl season will pit Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram against the Longhorns’ No. 1 run defense. Texas has allowed just 62.15 rushing yards per game this season, while Ingram has averaged 118.62 YPG. At times, Ingram has been the Tide’s only offense this season. But what happens if the Longhorns limit Ingram’s effectiveness and force quarterback Greg McElroy to beat them through the air? More on that question…

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2010 BCS National Championship Official Smack Talk Thread: Texas vs. Alabama

The 2010 BCS National Championship Game pits No. 1 vs. No. 2, as the Alabama Crimson Tide will take on the Texas Longhorns on January 7. To get you primed for the game, here’s a snapshot look at the title match.

2010 BCS National Championship Game Information:
Matchup: Alabama (13-0) vs. Texas (13-0)
Venue: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
Kickoff: 8:00PM ET
Odds: Alabama –5

Key Stats:
Led by quarterback Colt McCoy and receiver Jordan Shipley, the Longhorns have the third best scoring offense in the nation, the 14th best passing attack and are ranked 19th in total offense. McCoy is 10th in total offense with 296.92 passing yards per game and 26.77 rushing YPG. Defensively, the Longhorns boast the No. 1 rush defense in the country and are ranked No. 3 in total defense. Texas also ranks ninth in turnover margin and fourth in kickoff returns.

Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide have the second best defense in the nation and the second best run defense. Junior linebacker Rolando McClain has been the soul of Alabama’s defense, racking up over 100 tackles (51 solo), 10 tackles for loss and four sacks. Offensively, Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram heads a rushing offense that ranks 12th in the country and is 26th in scoring. Ingram is averaging close to 120 yards per game and has racked up 1,542 total yards of offense and 18 total touchdowns.

The Bottom Line:
After struggling with consistency for much of the season, quarterback Greg McElroy looks to build off a solid performance in the SEC title game and carry it into the national championship. While Ingram remains the backbone of the offense, McElroy might be the key to whether or not ‘Bama is victorious on January 7. He, and the Crimson Tide defense of course. And much like McElroy, fellow signal caller Colt McCoy will have to perform much better than he did against Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship for Texas to be successful. This will be the first time since time since the 2005 thriller between Texas and USC that two unbeaten teams square off in the title game. Who will come out on top?

Who will win the 2010 National Championship?
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It’s official: Alabama vs. Texas for the National Championship

Texas almost blew it against Nebraska, but they will get their chance against Alabama. After the bitter disappointment of being left out of the game last season, the Longhorns get their chance to win one under Colt McCoy. Alabama looked very tough against Florida, but you can’t judge these teams just on their last game. I think the game is a toss-up.

By the way, Kirk Herbstreet just smacked down Mark May on ESPN. Herbstreet was making the point that Alabama needs to make sure their players keep their focus, as everyone will be telling them how great they are, while Texas players will have to hear about how they were lucky to get there. Mark May argued that Nick Saban is not the kind of coach to let his players lose focus going into a bowl game, until Herbstreet pointed out how Alabama laid an egg last year against Utah.

Again, the layoff is another unfortunate factor in this crazy BCS system.

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