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BCS as a Playoff: It’s Texas and Alabama again in 2009. Is it any different?

Nick Bromberg
Dr. Saturday

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Welcome to Dr. Saturday's BCS as the College Football Playoff feature. This week we'll go through each of the 16 years of the BCS and hypothesize if the national championship would have changed hands under the new College Football Playoff.

Since we don't have the benefit of a selection committee, we're taking the top four teams from the BCS standings entering bowl season. Is there any way we're not getting a rematch in 2009?

No. 1 Alabama (14-0)

Coach: Nick Saban

Notable players: QB Greg McElroy, RB Mark Ingram, RB Trent Richardson, WR Julio Jones, DL Terrence Cody, LB Dont'a Hightower, LB Courtney Upshaw, DB Mark Barron

Alabama's season: After beating Virginia Tech in the first game of the season, Alabama rolled all the way until the Tennessee game on Oct. 24. There, Cody blocked a late Tennessee field goal attempt and Alabama survived 12-10. After beating Auburn 26-21, Alabama was headed to play Florida in the SEC Championship Game and Texas in the BCS Championship Game. Ingram won the Heisman Trophy as he rushed for 1,658 yards and 17 touchdowns.

No. 2 Texas (13-1)

Coach: Mack Brown

Notable players: QB Colt McCoy, RB Tre Newton, WR Jordan Shipley, WR Malcolm Williams, DL Lamarr Houston, LB Sergio Kindle, LB Sam Acho, DB Earl Thomas

Texas's season: The Longhorns had a couple escapes throughout the season. Texas beat Oklahoma 16-13 on Oct. 17. After beating Texas A&M by 10, the Longhorns then needed a field goal as time expired to beat Nebraska 13-12 in the Big 12 Championship Game. McCoy threw for 3,521 yards, 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while Shipley had 116 catches for 1,485 yards and 13 touchdowns.

No. 3 Cincinnati (12-1)

Coach: Brian Kelly

Notable players: QB Tony Pike, RB Isaiah Pead, WR Mardy Gilyard, WR Armon Binns, DL Derek Wolfe, LB J.K. Schaffer, LB Alex Daniels

Cincinnati's season: Cincinnati rode through the Big East undefeated as it rose to No. 3 in the BCS. The Bearcats' two best wins were a 24-21 win over West Virginia on Nov. 13 and a 45-44 win over Pitt on Dec. 5. The win over Pitt sealed the Big East for the Bearcats and a trip to the Sugar Bowl to play Florida after the Gators lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. Pike threw for 2,520 yards, 29 touchdowns and six interceptions while Pead ran for 806 yards and nine touchdowns.

No. 4 TCU (12-1)

Coach: Gary Patterson

Notable players: QB Andy Dalton, RB Joseph Turner, WR Jeremy Kerley, LB Jerry Hughes, LB Daryl Washington, DB Alex Ibiloye

TCU's season: Like Cincinnati, TCU was also undefeated after the regular season. And also like Cincinnati, a weaker conference than the Big 12 and SEC penalized TCU. After winning on the road at Clemson in the third game of the season, TCU won by three at Air Force on Oct. 10. Since then, o other game was within 17 points until the Fiesta Bowl. Dalton threw for 2,756 yards, 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

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The 2010 BCS Championship Game: Texas fans certainly think that this game would be different with a healthy McCoy. McCoy injured his scapula in the first quarter and never returned. Garrett Gilbert came in for McCoy and threw four interceptions. After the first quarter, Texas was up 6-0. At halftime, Alabama was leading 24-6. However, thanks to Shipley, who caught 10 of Texas's 17 completed passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns, Texas was able to close within 24-21 in the middle of the fourth quarter. But a touchdown with two minutes left by Mark Ingram sealed what turned out to be a 37-21 win.

The Playoff matchups: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 TCU, No. 2 Texas vs. No. 3 Cincinnati

Just missing out: No. 5 Florida and No. 6 Boise State

The semifinals: No offense to TCU and Cincinnati, who were worthy of high rankings because of undefeated seasons, these are the most lopsided semifinals we've had so far. The Horned Frogs would be able to keep the game against Alabama low-scoring, but we like Ingram and Richardson to control the game much like they did against Texas. In the other semifinal, Texas's defense would stop Pike and Pead while McCoy and Shipley hook up for a couple of touchdowns. We've got a rematch.

The final: McCoy is healthy in this game. So what happens? With Gilbert at the helm in the BCS Championship Game, Saban switched to a heavily ground-based attack to control the ball. Alabama ran the ball 51 times. If McCoy plays for all four quarters, the Crimson Tide are forced to have McElroy throw more than 11 passes. Though that works out OK. It was a Herculean effort by a stout Texas defense to keep the Longhorns in the game until the very end, and this one is close too. Give us Alabama by three.

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