ATLANTA – Two of college foot ball’s winningest programs each will bring a Heisman Trophy con tender, a great defense and a coach seeking his second crystal trophy to the national champi onship game on Jan. 7 in Pasa dena, Calif.
Alabama will bring a quar terback from Texas. Texas will bring a defensive coordinator who is close friends with Alabama’s head coach.
And the Crimson Tide will bring a grudge.
No. 2 Alabama (13-0) advanced to the BCS Championship Game on Saturday with a 32-13 victory over No. 1 Florida (12-1). Texas (13-0) advanced with a 13-12 vic tory over No. 21 Nebraska (9-4).
The Crimson Tide is 0-7-1 all time against the Texas Longhorns. Rice (3-0) is the only other team Alabama has played more than once that the Crimson Tide has not defeated.
The Tide and Longhorns have not met since Jan. 1, 1982, when Texas scored twice in the fourth quarter to defeat Alabama 14-12 in the Cotton Bowl.
Five of their eight meetings have come in bowls. Texas won 27-7 in the Sugar Bowl at the end of the 1947 season, 21-17 in the Orange Bowl at the end of the 1964 season and 17-13 in the Cotton Bowl at the end of the 1972 season. The Tide and Longhorns fought to a 3-3 tie in the 1960 Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston.
The regular-season meetings came in 1902, 1915 and 1922, with Texas winning 10-0, 20-0 and 19-10.
So much for ancient history. This year, Texas senior quar terback Colt McCoy and Alabama sophomore running back Mark In gram have spent much of the sea son at or near the top of Heisman Trophy polls.
Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy is a fourth-year junior and first-year starter from South lake Carroll High School in subur ban Dallas. He was not offered a scholarship to Texas despite throwing for 4,687 yards and 56 touchdowns as a senior while leading his 16-0 team to the Class 5A championship.
Texas came into its game Satur day ranked No. 1 in the nation in rushing defense (61.75 yards per game) and will face an Alabama team whose strength is running. The Tide was ranked No. 13 in the nation in rushing offense (212.92 yards per game).