Saban-practicejpg-547e6c87c73d3afe_medium As I noted in my blog of January 1 I was given a wonderful Christmas gift so today I am in Pasadena, California, to see the Crimson Tide of Alabama seek its 13th national championship in collegiate football. This great team, carrying the hopes and dreams of fans from “Sweet Home Alabama,” rides into this big game a favorite. In the eleven previous BCS championship games the underdog has won six times. In the last seven years the underdog has won six out of seven. And the team with the Heisman Trophy winner, which is Alabama this year, always loses this game, with the lone exception being USC with running back Reggie Bush. Alabama will have to change this grim “tide” if they are to celebrate at the end of the big game this evening. I honestly believe they will prevail over Texas because they have a coach who will keep them focused on the task and who knows what it takes to win. (Mack Brown is a fine coach but there is good reason to not bet against Saban in this game.) After such a long lay-off keeping a team focused is not easy. Texas should be focused since they are the under-dogs. But I have seen these teams play quite a bit this season. Alabama has played, consistently, better football all year long. Both teams had narrow escapes (Texas vs. Nebraska and Alabama vs. Tennessee). Both teams have a good run defense. Both teams have exceptional speed. But Alabama has more power if they play their game and do not overlook Texas in any way. The big if is the key. And this is all about being ready and being coached for a big game. Mistakes are likely to be the difference. Alabama has made very few mistakes this season. The one exception was Tennessee who almost upset the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa via three mistakes in the last two minutes of the game. But fans who saw Florida take Cincinnati apart this last week should know that Alabama took Florida apart. The one caveat to my argument is that was five weeks ago. A long time can change everything.

For me the really cool thing about this evening is that I will be there for my for my first visit to the historic Rose Bowl. I hope to yell more than a few “Roll Tides” tonight. I have seen the Tide play twice this season (against Arkansas and Kentucky) and if they win tonight a most magical season will have come to a very memorable end and I will get to enjoy it in person just like I hoped so long ago.

Fans like to prepare themselves for a big game a lot like players do. Get your focus and excite the emotions before the battle begins. The place will be rocking at 5 p.m. PST. There is a great video that prepares me for this game. It is a highlight package of a great season and the quest for national title number thirteen this evening.