My first thought upon waking this morning: Bama won the National Championship Game! Second thought: Ugh, it is TOO cold, and I do NOT want to get up. Fortunately, we had a two hour delay in the start of school, so I wasn't having to crawl out of bed at 5:30 after going to bed at 1:00. That would not have been good.
So...the game. Parts of the game had me on the edge of my seat screaming from frustration, while other parts had me jumping up and down screaming from excitement. When we did nothing on our first possession, I was concerned, but hey, it was the first series of the entire game--the biggest game of the entire season--so nerves had to play a part of it. They'll go to the sideline, talk, and settle down. Texas gets the ball and is moving. Suddenly, Colt McCoy takes himself out of the game. HUH?? Our big linebacker, Marcell Dareus, made a clean hit on McCoy's throwing shoulder, forcing him out of the rest of the game. I hated to see him have to come out because he seems like such a classy young man. In his post-game interview, the emotions were there, but unlike another big-name college quarterback, he didn't cry. (Sorry, I know losing the SEC game was hard for Tebow, but man up. We can win 'em all.)
The TRUE FRESHMAN backup qb came in. Can you imagine how he felt? One minute, he standing on the sidelines just soaking up the atmosphere and the next he's taking a snap in the biggest game of Texas' entire season. He definitely had the "deer in the headlights" look to begin with, but as the game progressed, he settled down and made some really good passes. Texas may have found the replacement to McCoy.
Texas ended up with two field goals to lead 6-0, but Bama rallied. In the second quarter, Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson scored touchdowns, and Leigh Tiffin added a field goal. With only 15 seconds left in the half, Gilbert tossed out a shovel/shuttle/shuttle pass and Marcell Dareus (yep, the same guy who took McCoy out of the game) intercepted it and ran it in for a TD. Anytime a big defensive lineman intercepts a ball or recovers a fumble and runs it, John will say "I love to see a big man run." Now, don't go thinking there is something about John that you don't know. It's just fun to watch those big ole guys lumber down the field. If they have a long way to go, they generally won't make it before they run out of gas or they are caught by a faster offensive player. (Not that the player is offensive. LOL)
The third quarter was ALL TEXAS. I was going NUTS because Bama wasn't doing anything on the offensive side of the ball. (Their play truly was offensive.) Texas scored in both the third and the fourth quarters to bring the game to within three points. A field goal would tie; a TD would win. The next to last time Texas got the ball, I sent Susan a text and said that if they scored, that would probably be the game. I was still hopeful, but I also knew that a couple of really good plays could bring the hopes of the Bama Nation to an end. However, our D made some awesome plays.
First of all, Eryk Anders blitzed and sacked Gilbert, causing him to fumble. (I had just commented that Bama DESPERATELY needed to force a turnover.) Courtney Upshaw recovered the fumble, and Mark Ingram, behind Mount Cody, ended up taking the ball in. Score: 31-21. On Texas' next possession, I again said that we needed another turnover. There were still about two minutes on the clock, and with good clock management and good play calling, Texas could win. All it would take would be a quick score and an onside kick with another quick score to follow. Javy read Gilbert and ended up intercepting him again. Trent ended up taking the ball in for our final score.
After Trent scored, Saban was doused with a nice, cold Gatorade bath. He looked none too happy, but it looked like he got whacked in the head with the cooler, and I'm sure the Gatorade was iced. His nice, white shirt will never be white again. It ended up being a really pretty shade of pink. We said it needs to end up in the Bryant Museum. After all, Coach Saban is the only Division I (or whatever it is called now) to win a BCS Championship at two different schools.
After the trophy presentation, Kristen and I jumped in the car and drove to Academy Sports and Hibbett Sports in Auburn. Yep, we bought our National Championship shirts in AUBURN. And it felt great. By the time we got back to the house, it was almost 1:00.
All day long, I had the biggest smile on my face. Very few of the Bama haters had much to say. I mean, what COULD they say? Bama was undefeated and had just been crowned national champs. Coach Saban brought the program from dismal to glorious in three short years. It had actually been three years and four days since he was announced as the new head coach. (And for the win, he will receive a $400,000 bonus. He would have gotten a mere $200,000 had we lost.)
Sadly (for me), football is over until September. National Signing Day will be coming up in about three weeks. So far, our recruiting class is looking pretty good. The staff has put together #1 recruiting classes the last couple of years. Will they do it again? Maybe; maybe not. But I know it will be in the top 10, at least. Shortly after that, spring practice will begin. Who will be the players to step up? Who will vie for the starting positions? Who will fill the shoes of our never-to-be-forgotten seniors? Then, A-Day. The first year Coach Saban was at Bama, over 92,000 people showed up for the A-Day game. He was amazed by that. The crowds at the last two spring games were smaller, but the crowds were still huge. I'm gonna bet that this year's game will see another huge crowd. The the long summer months will follow before fall practice begins in August.
Will the 2010 team be as successful as the 2009 team? That remains to be seen, but I think it's possible. I'm a true fan. I will always start each season believing that it will be a magical season.
Another PERFECT SEASON