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20/20 Hindsight: The BCS National Championship Game

The mavens of the nation's sports media have weighed in on last night's victory by the Crimson Tide over the University of Texas Longhorns in the BCS National Championship game. Here's the roundup:

Texas and Alabama played a teeth-gnashing, bloody-knuckles game that fit the style of their forefathers, Alabama’s Bear Bryant and Texas’ Darrell Royal.

Pete Thamel | The New York Times

It was a BCS National Championship Game that turned into a classic — even if the University of Alabama would have preferred otherwise.

Gentry Estes | The Tuscaloosa News

This was the heavyweight matchup, the supreme bat­tle that was supposed to set­tle the national champi­onship. An Alabama running game that featured the Heis­man Trophy winner was matched against the na­tion's top rushing defense Thursday night.And the outcome? No contest.

Don Kausler Jr. | The Birmingham News

Alabama won the Bowl Championship Series national title Thursday night, 37-21, using two jarring back blows to two Texas quarterbacks to turn the Rose Bowl into Crimson, clover and game over. Two back shots is what it took, one at the beginning and one near the end.

Chris Dufresne | The Los Angeles Times

For 18 years, Alabama’s been contributing to the general glory fund in painful sums. Tonight they got to withdraw their share with proper dividends. Well done all around, sirs and madams.

Spencer Hall | EDSBS

The houndstooth hat is a memory — the Snake, Joe Willie and Bart Starr replaced by guys named Julio, Javier and Mount Cody. Alabama football, though, is alive and well, thanks to a defense that would have made the Bear smile.

Eddie Pells | The Associated Press

A bizarre postseason of college football ended fittingly on Thursday in Rose Bowl Stadium. It kept your attention until the very end. But, in the end, it was Alabama and coach Nick Saban, as expected, holding the crystal trophy as winners of the BCS title for the 2009 college football season.

Joseph Goodman | The Miami Herald

The wear and tear was noticeable on their faces. Tired Texas players like Lamarr Houston and Roddrick Muckelroy showed the effects of trying to contain bruising Alabama running backs Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson during a long night at the Rose Bowl.The Longhorns’ No. 1 national defense was gashed for a season-worst 205 rushing yards.

Tim Griffin | ESPN

Alabama should have won Thursday night's BCS National Championship Game handily... But that wouldn't have been very 'Bama-esque.

Stewart Mandel | Sports Illustrated

It may not have been a fair fight, and it may not have been pretty. And someday, when the state of Alabama sobers up, when the echoes of the "Rammer Jammer" cheer fade from the Arroyo Seco and thoughts turn to next season, Crimson Tide fans still won't give a damn.

Ivan Maisel | ESPN

The Crimson Tide won college football's national championship by defeating an opponent that was not at its best. That's how this season's BCS finale will be remembered – as much for Alabama's excellence as Texas' rotten luck.

Michael Lev | The Orange County Register

The Tide weathered Texas' initial punch, produced two 100-yard rushers against a defense that hadn't allowed even one in any of its previous 13 games and took advantage of the circumstances they were presented to close the deal. The early injury to star quarterback Colt McCoy and brief fourth-quarter rally under Gilbert kept the focus on Texas for most of the night, but Alabama was everything it was supposed to be as a top-ranked favorite, and finally has the hardware to prove it.

Matt Hinton | Yahoo!Sports

'Bama is officially back, winning the Bowl Championship Series title, its first in 17 years and eighth overall. However, this defensive struggle came down to the final minutes. With just over three minutes remaining and Texas trailing by three points, the game was in the hands of a Longhorns backup quarterback, Garrett Gilbert.

Kelly Whiteside | USA Today

"Finish." The mantra that drove Alabama through last spring, through summer camp and through a perfect season echoed fully when the Crimson Tide needed to make plays in the BCS National Championship Game.

Ken Rogers | The Dothan Eagle

The running game wears teams down. The defense changes games. Yes, Alabama, this season's version of the Crimson Tide could have been your dad's Crimson Tide, too. Or Bear Bryant's.

Eddie Pells | The Associated Press

[Mark Ingrams'] fourth-quarter touchdown was the play that finally broke the Texas Longhorns in the BCS National Championship Game and propelled the Crimson Tide to a 37-21 victory, giving top-ranked Alabama its 13th national championship on the same field where it won its first title 83 years earlier.

Tommy Deas | Tuscaloosa News

Texas was carried to its national championship at the Rose Bowl five years ago on the back of a veteran quarterback in a brilliant performance. A true freshman who had only mopped up in nine appearances this season nearly pulled it off this time.

Blair Kerkhoff | McClatchy Newspapers

The argument, if there even really was one, is over. Any notion that the Southeastern Conference is not the best in college football ended Thursday night at the Rose Bowl, where top-ranked Alabama beat No. 2 Texas 37-21 in the Bowl Championship Series title game.

Gary Klein | Tribune Newspapers

And now it’s the SEC from sea to shining sea. Alabama beat Texas 37-21 in the BCS national championship game Thursday night, giving the Tide (14-0) what should prove a near-unanimous football crown and making the Southeastern Conference the current holder of all four BCS bowl games from California to Miami.

James Varney | The Times-Picayune

The Crimson Tide won SEC and BCS championships in only Nick Saban’s third season, defeating two great teams, Florida and Texas, respectively. And don’t be surprised if next season the Tide becomes the first program since Nebraska in1994 and 1995 to repeat as national champions.

Jeff Schultz | The Atlanta Journal Constitution

And thanks to the meteoric rises he has orchestrated now at two separate SEC schools, all within the last decade, there is a difficult argument to be made that Saban has not only accomplished his goals, but exceeded them. But don’t look for him to take all the credit for it.

Spencer White | The Crimson White

And preserve under glass this glorious night that began with breathtaking pageantry, with fireworks lighting up the blackberry skies over a bowl of crimson, white, houndstooth and burnt orange, and ended with a blizzard of confetti showering a Gatorade-soaked Nick Saban, lifting a crystal football to the sky.

Mark McCarter | The Huntsville Times

Saban brought Alabama its first national championship since 1992, and it didn’t come easily, the 37-21 final score against Texas in the BCS title game on Thursday night notwithstanding. Texas got back in the game in the fourth quarter, and the Longhorns didn’t have their star quarterback, the aptly named Colt McCoy. But Alabama was the better team.

Jim Mashek | The Sun Herald

Opposing fans who endured constant reminders of Alabama's rich football heritage from the Tide faithful couldn't help but laugh as the program finally convinced Saban -- after practically begging -- to take the job. No one is laughing anymore.

CocknFire | Team Speed Kills

Dozens, if not hundreds, of Alabama fans at Thursday’s BCS Championship Game were wearing replicas of Bryant’s trademark checkered houndstooth hat. But following Alabama’s 37-21 victory over Texas, Tide fans might have a change of hat. They could soon be sporting the wide-brim, Panama-style headgear favored by current head coach Nick Saban.

Cary Estes | MSNBC

The Bowl Championship Series national title game Thursday night started with a story line of two Texas quarterbacks facing each other. And while Alabama’s 37-21 victory ended with Texas quarterbacks at the helm for both teams, the story had a different cast when the true freshman Garrett Gilbert replaced McCoy on Texas’ first possession.

Thayer Evans | The New York Times

Colt McCoy's eyes glistened as he stood Thursday at his locker, but he refused to let the tears fall... On Thursday, McCoy suffered the final indignity of a glorious but ultimately snakebit career.

Andy Staples | Sports Illustrated

Texas quarterback Colt McCoy hurt his passing shoulder on the Longhorns' first drive of the Citi BCS National Championship Game Thursday night, knocking him out of the biggest -- and final -- game of his college career. McCoy told after the game he had a pinched nerve in his right shoulder. He said his arm felt like a "noodle" and had no strength.

Kevin Schalabach | ESPN

On college football's greatest stage, in the game he waited five long years to play, Colt McCoy took five snaps. And just like that, a dream died, and a national title with it.

Kevin Sherrington | The Dallas Morning News

McCoy, who had returned to Texas for his senior season with the lone goal of leading the Longhorns to a national championship, could only watch as their valiant comeback fell short in a 37-21 loss to the Crimson Tide. It was an absolutely gut-wrenching ending to one of college football's most remarkable careers.

Mark Schlabach | ESPN

This isn't the way it should have ended for Texas senior quarterback Colt McCoy. And it isn't the way it should have begun for freshman Garrett Gilbert.

Lenn Robbins | The New York Post

It's going to be a long time, though, before anyone outside of Alabama -- and Texas fans most of all -- stops asking "What might have been?" if McCoy had the chance to really leave his prolific career on the field. The Longhorns' fate against a truly great defense may not have been much different

Matt Hinton | Yahoo!Sports

Colt McCoy's passage into Texas football lore slammed abruptly, painfully and cruelly shut just 4:06 into the biggest game of his life. And the last of his college career.

Brad Townsend | The Dallas Morning News

The backup is one bum shoulder away from being the guy, and yet, when disaster strikes, the Garrett Gilberts of the world trot into the world’s biggest games with most of their experience derived from doing crummy imitations of Kansas State in practice.

Monte Dutton | The Gaston Gazette

A few inches taller than Colt McCoy and with a bit more zip on his passes, Garrett Gilbert was all set to take over as quarterback at Texas in 2010. September 2010, that is.

Jaime Aron | The Associated Press

They came to see Sinatra, they got Pee Wee Herman. Nothing against Garrett Gilbert but, Pee Wee actually has a better completion percentage. OK, cheap shot but like a lot of fans I felt cheated, or at least let down at the BCS Championship Game where Alabama defeated Texas 37-21.

Dennis Dodd | CBS Sports

Three hours earlier and five plays into a game he'd so long dreamt about, he had taken a blow from Alabama's Marcell Dareus that knocked the feeling out of his arm -- "like I'd slept on it," he said -- and knocked him out of the game. And so, on a night of dreams, McCoy was the lone insomniac.

Ray Holloman | AOL Fanhouse

Colt McCoy had fallen early to injury leaving the Texas offense in shambles. True freshman QB Garrett Gilbert stepped into the harsh spotlight of the biggest game in college football and looked like a freshman ought to look when thrown into that situation; scared and shaky.

John G. Winder | The Cypress Times

After shaking off a terrible first half, freshman quarterback Garrett Gilbert passed for two second-half touchdowns to wide receiver Jordan Shipley and pulled the Longhorns to within 24-21 with 6:15 remaining in the game.

Michael Southern | Tuscaloosa News

As Mack Brown tried to list every possible coaching contingency on the eve of the Citi BCS National Championship, the Texas coach missed one. Then the unthinkable happened in the first quarter against Alabama. Colt McCoy went down with an injured right shoulder. True freshman Garrett Gilbert became the quarterback for the biggest Texas game since 2005.

Chuck Carlton | The Dallas Morning News