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Entries in Colt McCoy (3)


QB Will Be The Difference Tonight, Just Not The One You Think

Greg McElroy

One Great Season

BROOKLYN -- Just a few minutes after Hunter Lawrence's game-winning kick in the Big 12 championship game pushed Texas into the BCS title game, many thought the the Longhorns would be heavily overmatched.

The easy logic was, "If they could only score 13 points against Nebraska, how would they score against Alabama?"

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Sure Alabama has a relentless defense, just like Nebraska's. But what few seem to be talking about is that Texas can get nasty on that side of the ball as well. In fact, the Longhorns have the nation's top run defense, allowing only 62 yards per game, well ahead of Alabama's No. 2 run-stopping unit that yields 78 yards per game.

So in the matchup many should be excited to watch -- Alabama's Heisman Trophy-winning Mark Ingram against Texas' run defense -- I give the edge to the Longhorns.

YOUR THOUGHTS: Who Will Win Tonight?

But I think the Alabama run defense will limit Texas' far-weaker rushing game in even more dominant fashion. That means UT quarterback Colt McCoy will see many 3rd-down-and long situations. Texas is a solid team when it comes to third-down conversions (46 percent, 15th in the country), but McCoy averaged about an interception a game and the Horns' offensive line ranked 82nd in protecting its quarterback, allowing 2.31 sacks per game. Did you see that Big 12 championship game? The Huskers overpowered Texas' offensive line and treated McCoy like a rag doll.

I've got to think the Tide will rattle McCoy into an interception or two, or at the very least into many three-and-out possessions.

So if the run defenses cancel each other out and Alabama boasts the edge in the department of pass defense, how can Texas overcome potential shortages in the turnover and time of possession battles? That's easy: special teams.

The Longhorns returned four punts and three kickoffs for touchdowns this season. And that's where Alabama could be vulnerable; the Tide ranks 64th in punt return defense this year, and even worse -- 116th -- in kickoff return defense. If Texas can make a big play on special teams, the Longhorns will stay in the game.

But that could be a big if, and even if Texas does take one back, just keeping it close won't be enough. That's because Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy does his best work when the pressure is on.

Thanks to the bruising Ingram, the junior isn't asked to do nearly as much as McCoy, but operating such a balanced offense that also features wideout Julio Jones, among other capable targets, gives McElroy great confidence. He threw only four interceptions this season, including just one in his final six games.

When the game was on the line against Auburn, McElroy drove Alabama 79 yards, chewing up more than seven minutes on a 15-play drive that culminated in the game-winning score with 1:24 left.

Three weeks earlier against LSU, McElroy led three scoring drives in the fourth quarter alone as Alabama held the ball for 11 minutes and turned a 15-10 deficit into a 24-15 victory.

That's right: a quarterback will be the difference in tonight's national championship game. Only it won't be the winningest player in college football history, the highly decorated McCoy. Instead it will be McElroy, who, like his friends Ingram and Jones, will return next season to try to lead the Tide to back-to-back championships. Alabama wins a close one, 21-17.


Despite Injury, Pike's Numbers Better Than Tebow's

Tony Pike

One Great Season

WASHINGTON, Pa. -- If it were up to Cy Young voters to determine college football's Heisman Trophy winner, you'd probably see Cincinnati's Tony Pike back on the list.

If there could be such a thing as a popular darkhorse, Pike was it by midseason. He was averaging 10 touchdown passes and 4,000 yards a game it seemed, before missing three full games and parts of two others with an injured forearm. Fortunately for the Bearcats, sophomore backup Zach Collaros filled in so splendidly at quarterback that when Pike was rounding back into form, coach Brian Kelly had an embarrassment of riches at the position for still-unbeaten UC.

And while the injury gave fans in Clifton reason to be excited for next season with Collaros at the helm, the missed time cost Pike a chance to become the school's first Heisman winner.


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Baseball writers gave rising superstar Tim Lincecum his second straight Cy Young Award this month, in one of the more intriguing votes in recent history. Lincecum needed only 15 wins to grab the NL honor, while AL stud Zack Greinke won just 16 games en route to becoming the Kansas City Royals' first such honoree.

Tim Tebow

Obviously, those writers recognized quality over quantity, and while Heisman voters will have a hard time ignoring Texas quarterback Colt McCoy's prolific numbers, Pike boasts the kind of consistent dominance that could possibly earn him at least a few votes if he closes with another stellar effort Saturday in a nationally televised Big East championship game against Pittsburgh. Something to tell the grandchildren.

Despite the limited action, Pike's passing numbers are actually slightly better than those of Florida's Tim Tebow, who won the Heisman in 2007.


+ 162-for-249 passing, 2,048 yards and 23 TDs and 3 INTs.
+ Passer rating of 162.22.
+ He's had two games with 30+ completions, and four games with 300+ yards.


+ 162-of-244 passing, 2,166 yards, 17 TDs and 4 INTs.
+ Passer rating of 160.67
+ He hasn't completed more than 17 passes in a game this season, and hasn't thrown for more than 255 yards.

Certainly Tebow is the most dangerous running quarterback in the country, so he's got a large edge over Pike in that category. But Tebow also has one of the nation's top defenses in his own locker room. Pike's defensive mates aren't nearly as dominant, so he's had to earn his unbeaten record this year more than Tebow has earned his.

I'm not saying Pike is a better quarterback or that he deserves first-place Heisman consideration, but it would be nice for his incredible performance this season to be recognized appropriately.


I'm Cool With Bradford, McCoy Being Buds

Sam Bradford

One Great Season

ATLANTA -- If many in our culture had to pick one thing they dislike about sports, it might be something about an absence of sportsmanship.

At least at the high school and college levels, there's an expectation that there's more to life for young athletes than the games in which they play. Perhaps being in school and not playing for a paycheck are reasons why there's a standard for conduct and punishments are severe for unacceptable behavior. LeGarrette Blount, anyone?

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So why is there even a conversation this week that begins with the question, "Do you think Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford should be friends?"

Are you kidding me?

YOUR THOUGHTS: Cool For Bradford, McCoy To Be Buds?

I've told this story before and I'll tell it again. My dad was a great high school football player and even played at Notre Dame under Frank Leahy. Got a tryout with the Packers, too. And while my athletic career didn't extend past high school, I still picked up from him plenty of valuable lessons about interscholastic sports.

Perhaps my favorite story he told was how, even though his team was about to beat somebody by 40, the squad he quarterbacked would suspend its pre-game stretches in order to applaud the other team as it took the field. Very classy move.

Do I expect teams to do that nowadays? Hardly, and that's fine. But for talk-show hosts to think they should have an opinion about who a 22-year-old football star is friends with is more than presumptuous. And if these pundits must weigh in, they need to remember that the games they're paid to analyze are just that -- games. There's a winner and a loser and when it's over, people go home and return to their lives. Certainly prepare well during the week and try hard as hell to kick the crap out of that friend's team as the clock is ticking, but afterward, friendships last forever.