NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – Boise State's thrilling win over Texas Christian in the Fiesta Bowl on Monday again raised calls for a college football playoff and pointed some arrows at the BCS
The Broncos finished 14-0 but out of luck in terms of national championship contention. Texas coach Mack Brown, who has been outspoken on the issue on the past, weighed in.
"Every year we have this conversation, we have this controversy and as long as we have the BCS like it is, it's not going to change," he said. "The opinions do not matter. This is the national championship game.
"I have learned over the last five years that I have absolutely no input. For the last 10 years I've been asked, and for the last 10 years I've said what we've got is better than what we had before. But I don't think what we've got is best for college football and I'd like to see us keep working and tweaking and see if we can get the best teams to play at the end. I would not want to ruin the bowl system. I love watching the bowls.
"But I would like a better way to measure who is the best team in the country at the end."
Brown and Alabama coach Nick Saban are the game's highest-paid coaches.
Brown was recently awarded a new deal worth that will pay him $5 million next season. Saban makes $4.7 million per.
Brown was asked if he felt guilty about his paycheck in these tough economic times.
"I don't feel guilty at all because that's not my decision," he said. "I didn't ask for it, the university decided to pay it, and what they did is obviously made a business decision. Coaches are making more money than ever before. There's more scrutiny on coaches than ever before, and universities need money more than ever before to run all the other sports. I think from a business standpoint, if you ask the CEOs in the state of Texas they would agree with it. If you asked other people they might not because when a football coach makes more than the university president, that's hard to understand, and I get that. I can understand it without question."
One of the marquee matchups in the game will pit the Texas passing game, featuring receiver Jordan Shipley against the Alabama secondary and standout Javier Arenas. Shipley said he looks forward to facing the challenge Arenas presents.
"Obviously he's a great athlete, a great football player, and I have a lot of respect for him as a player," Shipley said. "Their whole defense across the board is really solid. Even just looking at some of the return stuff he's been able to do, he's obviously a great player and was an integral part of the team."
The offensive and defensive matchups have been analyzed over and over, but this game could come down to special teams – a big return or clutch field goal.
"What would be my ideal situation?" Alabama kicker Leigh Tiffin said. "There are three seconds left on the clock, we are down by two points, and I hit a field goal to win the game."
If it comes down to that, Tiffin figures to deliver. He is an All-SEC kicker who has converted 29-of-33 field-goal attempts, including 5-of-7 from 40-49 yards and a 50-yarder this season. He is the NCAA's active leader in field goals with 82 and is just two field goals shy of setting an NCAA single-season mark with 31.
If a big return is needed, Alabama also is well equipped to excel with Javier Arenas, who averages 16.3 yards on punt returns with a touchdown and 29 yards on kickoff returns. Arenas holds SEC career records for punt return yards (1,733) and touchdowns (seven). He needs just 29 yards to become the NCAA leader in punt return yards.
"I am taking the exact same mental approach [as I do during the season]," Tiffin said. “I try not to think of the consequences and just do what I always do."
Alabama linebacker and Butkus Award winner Rolando McClain wasn't at Tuesday's media day event. Backup defensive back Rod Woodson also was absent. The reason: a stomach virus.
McClain made some potentially inflammatory comments at a media event a few days earlier, as reported by Orangebloods.com.
McClain said he already knows what plays Texas is going to call.
"He [Colt McCoy] doesn't really check a lot," McClain said. "I don't know exactly why, but he doesn't make a lot of checks. We've been practicing for two weeks now and I'll be sitting there saying, 'I know what's about to happen. I know what play they're about to run.'
"That's just from preparation. Coach Smart does a great job of coaching us up."
Later he backed off.
"I'm not saying they're predictable. It's the national championship, so you should expect something different from these guys. But they get in formations, and if you watch the film and study properly, you'll be all right."
McClain said the Tide is brimming with confidence.
"We're a very good team," McClain said. "Whether it's run stopping or passing the ball. We know his [McCoy's] favorite receiver is Shipley. We have to do a good job of stopping him and knowing where he's at.
"Our line has to keep McCoy in the pocket. I think we can do that and come in with some pressure every now and then to keep them off balance. We'll be all right."