Don't tell Saban that Alabama is favored

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Texas coach Mack Brown has latched onto the underdog role, and he’s running with it.

Presumably all the way to Pasadena.

Not only is Alabama coach Nick Saban running as fast as he can away from the favorite’s role, but he’s daring anybody to even bring it up.

You can almost see the steam rise from his forehead any time somebody remotely suggests that Alabama is the favorite in the Citi BCS National Championship Game or that the Crimson Tide go into the game with the most momentum.

“I think they've only lost one game in the last two years on the last play of the game. Is that not right?” Saban said. “And even though all the talking heads out there seem to want to make them not so, I think they are pretty good. They've got a lot of good players, and they've won a lot of games because of it. I think our players need to have respect for that and get ready to play their best football game of the year."

It’s also noteworthy that Saban referred to the Longhorns as “probably the best all-around team we’ve played all year.”

Clearly, Saban’s aware of how Brown has embraced the underdog role. Of course, it wasn’t too long ago that Texas was also the underdog against a Southern California team that a lot of people were bestowing with royalty status before the game.

The Longhorns won 41-38 to win the 2005 national championship and end USC’s 34-game winning streak. It just so happens that game was also played in the Rose Bowl.

What I want our players to focus on is playing their best football and assume that they’re going to play the best football team they’ve ever played and they’re going to be playing against the best player they’ve ever played against … and that’s what they should be working to do and what they should be focused on,” Saban said.