‘Bama and Texas: Blue bloods play for a title

AP: Nick Saban gave Mack Brown a cooler full of Alabama’s favorite, Dreamland Bar-B-Que. Brown presented Saban with a pair of genuine Texas spurs.

A quaint gesture, and a great photo op.

But the big prize — the one they really want — is that crystal trophy Brown and Saban posed with Wednesday, and it goes to the winner of the BCS national title game.

The undefeated Crimson Tide and Longhorns will each try to add another championship to their considerable pedigrees Thursday, a meeting that will pit All-American quarterback Colt McCoy of Texas against the player who beat him for the Heisman Trophy, running back Mark Ingram of Alabama.

“When you start with 120 teams and it’s down to two, that’s about 12,000 players,” Brown said. “It’s a great honor for your players and your coaches to be in this game.”

This is a matchup of two old-line programs from Southern states — Roll Tide vs. Hook ’em Horns — where football, on many days, is bigger than life.

Saban, in his third year in Tuscaloosa, is aiming to bring the first championship to Alabama since 1992, when Gene Stallings — a protege of the late, great Bear Bryant — roamed the sidelines.

“We have a tremendous amount of respect for the tradition and the passion that our fans have,” Saban said. (read MORE of this story in this post @ the Capstone Report)