Who Won the Battles In The National Championship?

Right, we all know that Alabama won the National Championship. Nick Saban may be the devil, but he can win football games. And as the Drive By Truckers say: "There's nothing more popular than football games and men that know how to win them." Well Nick, we can look forward to a few more glass trophies before you take the soon-to-be-vacant job at Notre Dame in 2015.

Anyway, who had the edge?

QUARTERBACKS

This wasn't a game for quaterbacks. Greg McElroy, Alabama's quarterback was downright awful in the game, but his only saving grace that Texas' replacement quarterback, Garrett Gilbert, was worse - for the first half, anyway. Both teams have a good future with McElroy and Gilbert in the huddle, but in the National Championship game, both players sucked.

BATTLE WINNER Gilbert. Sounds funny, but his recovery in the second half was remarkable. Just not enough.

RUNNING BACKS

You're joking, right? Alabama had four running touchdowns, and Texas didn't have any. Sure, Texas spent most of its life in the second half with an empty backfield and playing catch-up, but still, Tre' Newton really didn't do the job. Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson really did. And you know what the bad news is, SEC defenses? Both are back next year, too.

BATTLE WINNER Alabama. Not really an edge, more a crap-kicking

OFFENSIVE LINE

Both offensive lines were pretty awful in this game. If the game had gone one quarter longer, Greg McElroy could have been sacked for yards than he actually throw at the Rose Bowl. Colt McCoy and Garrett Gilbert's offensive line wasn't much better - both were injured only on. Thankfully for Texas fans, Gilbert came back, but McCoy didn't. But what really killed Texas was the penalties. The chop blocks were nasty - as was the holding. Alabama's seemed to get away with more (my Texas friend swears to God that Sergio Kindle was being held 'all night long') but that's football.

BATTLE WINNER Alabama When your team scores four touchdowns behind a much-maligned offensive line, you can't really complain.

WIDE RECEIVERS

The receivers on both sides had the dubious distinction of, well, not really distinguishing themselves. Apart from Jordan Shipley, who shone out in the second half with two Wes Welker-like touchdown receptions, this wasn't a game for the receivers. It certainly wasn't for Malcolm Williams, who managed to drop two fairly easy throws and an airmailed touchdown effort that would have made it 10-0 Texas. Oh, and Alabama's receivers should get plaudits for doing a really, really good blocking job on the perimeter, which helped Ingram pick up big yardage in the first half.

BATTLE WINNER Texas But really, that's thanks to Jordan Shipley and the fact that the other receivers.

DEFENSE

You're not going to believe me when I say this, but it was a pretty even battle - despite the 37-21 scoreline. Texas, knowing that their star quarterback was out, played with stunning energy on the other side of the ball - which made the game hellish exciting. It was like watching 11 whirling dervishes at times facing up to Alabama's offense. The fact that they didn't manage to stop Mark Ingram in the first half was more due to the brilliance of Ingram than a failure on Texas' part - Sergio Kindle made himself a few NFL dollars in this game. But in the defensive war, Alabama won the biggest war: the turnovers. 'Bama scored 21 points off turnovers, while Texas managed just three.
Oh, and speaking of defensive lineman, what's the over/under of Mount Cody's playing weight in the NFL in a year's time?


BATTLE WINNER Alabama. That defense is absolutely frightening, kids. Although a quick round of applause goes to Texas after spending most of the first half on the field.

SPECIAL TEAMS

If you were just talking about efforts to kick to dangerous punt returners, Texas didn't bother really kicking to Javier Arenas and Alabama's high, high punts made sure that Jordan Shipley couldn't run through and celebrate in their end-zone, so you'd have to call it evens. Texas gathered up an onside kick in the second half, and Saban's trick play in the first minutes of the game ended up as an interception.


BATTLE WINNER Alabama. Despite all of the good points for Texas, the Longhorns spent a lot of their time with their butts in their own 'red zone', thanks to great kicking, and Jordan Shipley wasn't a factor returning the ball.

COACHING

Saban will go to sleep with a glass bowl in his bed, while Mack Brown will be going to sleep thinking: "Maybe I should just give the damned job to Muschamp". Here's why: Mack Brown's decision to go for a shovel pass with just a few seconds remaining in the first half ended with Alabama celebrating in the end zone, Texas going in with a 24-6 deficit, and Brown looking like a twat. It was then compounded with his decision to 'go conservative' in the first half with Garrett Gilbert instead of letting the kid throw a bit also killed him. Nick Saban outcoached Mack Brown today- and yes, that means he's a better coach boys and girls. When these two superpowers meet each other in the regular season sometime in the middle of NEVER then we'll be able to change our thoughts, but right now, Saban rules.


BATTLE WINNER Alabama He may be the devil, but he wins football games.