It 's all down to storied powers

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NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. --- Nick Saban gave Mack Brown a cooler full of Alabama's favorite, Dreamland Bar-B-Que. Brown presented Saban with a pair of genuine Texas spurs.

Texas head coach Mack Brown (left) and Alabama head coach Nick Saban shake hands next to the BCS championship trophy during a media event Wednesday.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Texas head coach Mack Brown (left) and Alabama head coach Nick Saban shake hands next to the BCS championship trophy during a media event Wednesday.

A quaint gesture, and a great photo op.

But the big prize -- the one they really want -- is that crystal trophy Brown and Saban posed with Wednesday, and it goes to the winner of the BCS national title game.

The undefeated Crimson Tide and Longhorns will each try to add another championship to their considerable pedigrees Thursday, a meeting that will pit All-American quarterback Colt McCoy of Texas against Alabama running back Mark Ingram, the player who beat him for the Heisman Trophy.

"When you start with 120 teams and it's down to two, that's about 12,000 players," Brown said. "It's a great honor for your players and your coaches to be in this game."

This is a matchup of two old-line programs from Southern states -- Roll Tide vs. Hook 'em Horns -- where football, on many days, is bigger than life.

Saban, in his third year in Tuscaloosa, is aiming to bring the first championship to Alabama since 1992, when Gene Stallings -- a protege of the late, great Bear Bryant -- roamed the sidelines.

"We have a tremendous amount of respect for the tradition and the passion that our fans have," Saban said.

But, he said, tradition doesn't win ball games, and early in his tenure Saban even bristled against the so-called "culture of expectations" that surrounds most everything involved with Alabama football.

Since then, he has tried to ignore the hype and has gone about doing what he did six years ago when he led LSU to the BCS title: recruiting top prospects, coaching them up, trying to turn them into good players, students and citizens.

"The rest of it really doesn't affect that," Saban insisted.

In keeping with the tenor of the week, Brown was much more chit-chatty and loose than his counterpart during his portion of a coaches news conference sandwiched around the photo session. He described growing up in a small town in Tennessee and being as big a Bryant fan as anyone.

Now, he's at Texas. Once derisively known as "Coach February" -- the guy who could recruit all the talent in February but never cash in on it come January -- Brown has won seven of his past eight bowl games, led the Longhorns (13-0) to one national title and can easily be mentioned in the same breath as their legendary coach, Darrell Royal.

Royal, 85, and the Bear, who died in 1983, were good friends -- in fact, Royal showed Bryant how to run the wishbone -- though the two rarely met on opposite sidelines. Texas is 7-0-1 all-time against Alabama, with the last meeting a 14-12 win in the 1982 Cotton Bowl, five years after Royal had retired with 184 wins.

"Coach Royal is still alive and has things named after him," Brown said. "I think Coach Bryant still walks the halls at Tuscaloosa, and he has things named after him. But everyone that sees that 'A' and sees the Longhorn knows the programs, and that's what makes this game so special."

Alabama (13-0) comes into the game as a 31/2-point favorite, in part because the Tide was so much more impressive than Texas in its last game.

The Tide shut down Tim Tebow of Florida in a 32-13 crushing of the Gators in the Southeastern Conference title game.

Texas, meanwhile, beat Nebraska 13-12 in the Big 12 championship game.

TONIGHT'S GAME

WHO: No. 1 Alabama (13-0) vs.

No. 2 Texas (13-0)

WHEN: 8 p.m. (ABC-Ch. 6)

WHERE: Pasadena, Calif.

NOTEWORTHY: The No. 1 team is 24-17-2 in matchups vs. No. 2 team

LAST NO. 1 VS. NO. 2 MATCHUP: Dec. 5, 2009 -- No. 2 Alabama 32, No. 1 Florida 13, SEC Championship

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johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 01/07/10 - 06:02 am
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Two excellent teams will play

Two excellent teams will play in this too long delayed game. Unfortunately, we'll never know of the winner could have beaten undefeated Boise State. The answer could only be found on the field, and division 1 doesn't have a playoff. Everything is decided with an opinion poll.

johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 01/07/10 - 06:03 am
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If 'Bama plays like they did

If 'Bama plays like they did all season, this game won't be close.

HowieBoutneaux
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HowieBoutneaux 01/07/10 - 06:23 am
0
0
They should have never set up

They should have never set up a matchup between two undefeated pretenders. I think there are at least 10 teams in the county that could easily beat Boise St or TCU. At least UF got the chance to prove it with Cincinnati. I sure hope the 'Bama team that played Dec 5th shows up tonight rather than the one that had to block a last second field goal to sneak out a win.

johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 01/07/10 - 08:33 am
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Oklahoma said the same thing

Oklahoma said the same thing 4 years ago, Howie.

mar_1081
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mar_1081 01/07/10 - 10:22 am
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No one is willing to put BSU

No one is willing to put BSU on their schedule to see if they can beat them! you are right, they should have never been matched up in the Fiesta Bowl....however, if BSU played GA Tech, Cincinnati, Iowa, Ohio State, Oregon (which they already did) they would have beat them soundly! The only ones who would have given them a great game would be UF, Bama, or Texas...and I still think they would have won! The BCS needs to be eliminated and a playoff system needs to start asap!

justthefacts
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justthefacts 01/07/10 - 04:00 pm
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mar 1081, UGA put BSU on

mar 1081, UGA put BSU on their schedule a couple yrs ago. I think the final was 48-10 or something like that.

justthefacts
21757
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justthefacts 01/07/10 - 04:01 pm
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No one has a playoff system

No one has a playoff system any better...that I have seen.

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