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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The Official Sugar Bowl Smack Talk Thread: Cincinnati vs. Florida

The 2010 Sugar Bowl will have plenty of intrigue surrounding it when the Florida Gators take on the Cincinnati Bearcats on New Year’s Day. For the Gators, Tim Tebow will be playing his last collegiate game of his career, while the Bearcats will try to overcome the loss of their head coach, Brian Kelly, who ditched them for Notre Dame.

2010 Sugar Bowl Game Information
Matchup: Florida (12-1) vs. Cincinnati (12-0)
Venue: Superdome, New Orleans
Kickoff: 8:30PM ET, January 1
TV: FOX
Odds: Florida –10

Key Stats:
Cincinnati will have its hands full trying to move the ball against a Florida team that ranks 4th in the nation in total defense, 3rd in pass defense and third in scoring. Led by linebacker Brandon Spikes, the defensive line pair of Jermaine Cunningham and Carlos Dunlap, as well as a secondary headed by safety Major Wright, the Gators have one of the best defenses in the country. Offensively, Tebow leads a group that has averaged over 225 rushing yards per game this season and over 34 points per outing.

If any team were to move the ball on Florida, it might be Cincinnati, which has the sixth best offense in college football. Led by quarterback Tony Pike and receiver Mardy Gilyard, the Bearcats rank 6th in passing offense and 6th in scoring (averaging 39.83 points per game). Defensively, Cincinnati has the top passing efficiency unit in the country and are 48th in total defense.

The Bottom Line:
Cincinnati has more than enough weapons to contend in this game, but how will they fair without Kelly calling the plays? And even though this looks like a great matchup for Florida, will the Gators get up for the Sugar Bowl after failing to reach the national title game again? One would think that Tebow would get his team up to play this game, but don’t forget Alabama quit last year in this same venue and got rolled by Utah.

Let the smack begin:

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The Official Rose Bowl Smack Talk Thread: Ohio State vs. Oregon

The Big Ten Champion Ohio State Buckeyes will battle the Pac-10 Champion Oregon Ducks in the 2010 Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. In order to help get you ready for the game, below is a viewing guide complete with TV information, kickoff times, odds and more.

2010 Rose Bowl Game Information
Matchup: Ohio State (10-2) vs. Oregon (10-2)
Kickoff: 4:30PM ET
TV: ABC
Odds: Oregon –3.5

Key Stats:
Ohio State comes into this game with the 19th best rushing offense in the nation, led by running backs Daneil “Boom” Herron and Brandon Saine, as well as quarterback Terrelle Pryor (who almost went to Oregon before deciding on OSU). The Buckeyes also have the fifth best run defense in country, the 17th best pass defense and are ranked fifth in both total defense and scoring defense.

Oregon has been an offensive juggernaut this season, averaging over 37 points (they rank seventh in the nation in scoring offense) and over 236 rushing yards per game (sixth in the nation). The backfield tandem of LaMichael James and Jeremiah Masoli has been tough to stop this season and the duo is aided with the return of one-time Heisman candidate LeGarrette Blount, who missed 10 games after serving a suspension. Defensively, the Ducks rank 32nd against the run and 37th against the pass.

The Bottom Line:
This game offers a great matchup between the Ducks’ sixth-rated rushing attack versus the Buckeyes’ fifth-rated run defense. But the key to victory might be whether or not the undersized, fast Oregon defense can match up to the physical (yet inconsistent) OSU offense.

Let the smack talk begin:

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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
TV: ABC
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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The Official Orange Bowl Smack Talk Thread: Iowa vs. Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech and their high-powered option attack will invade Land Shark Stadium to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes at the 2010 Orange Bowl in Miami.

2010 Orange Bowl Game Information:
Matchup: Georgia Tech vs. Iowa
Venue: Land Shark Stadium
Kickoff: 8:00PM ET
TV: FOX
Odds: Georgia Tech –3.5

Key Stats:
The Yellow Jackets enter this game with the second best rushing attack in the nation thanks to a backfield trio of running backs Jonathan Dwyer and Anthony Allen, as well as quarterback Josh Nesbitt. Tech has averaged over 307 rushing yards per game this season and has the 11th best scoring offense in the country (35.31 PPG). Defensively, the Jackets rank 54th overall, 67th against the run and 47th against the pass.

Iowa’s strength relies on its defense, which ranks 11th in the country and eighth against the pass and 33rd against the run. Senior linebacker Pat Angerer ranks fifth in average tackles per game at 11.25, while junior defensive lineman has racked up nine sacks this season. The Hawkeyes expect running back Adam Robinson and quarterback Ricky Stanzi to be at full speed come January. Both players missed time due to injuries, but have had time to recover and are now practicing again. Iowa is ranked 54th in passing offense, 86th in scoring and 93rd in total offense.

The Bottom Line:
Tech’s spread option offense has virtually been unstoppable this season, but Iowa’s front seven is one of its strengths. The Hawkeyes’ interior defense is solid and the key to stopping the Jackets’ triple option. If this game turns out to be a back and forth shootout (uh, a rushing shootout, that is), then Iowa might have a tough time keeping up. But if the game is ugly, then no team has won uglier this season than the Hawkeyes.

Let the smack talk begin:

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