We're getting into title game mode now folks and we've got five match ups that everyone should tune into during the game. Here at ITB, just like the rest of the blogosphere, we love the lists so we'll be dropping one of these five up until title time folks. The five match ups we're most looking forward to for the BCS Championship Game are:
Terrence Cody vs Huey, Hall & Tanner
Jordan Shipley vs Javier Arenas
Sergio Kindle vs Davis & Carpenter
Earl Thomas vs Greg McElroy
Rolando McClain vs Colt McCoy
Each of these match ups will be crucial to the success of both teams and are at the heart of Nick Saban and Mack Brown's gameplans. After taking a break to hit on the speedy elements that are Shipley and Arenas we get back to the hand to hand combat that is the battle between Bama's offensive tackles and dangerous edge rusher Sergio Kindle.
Kindle isn't truly a defensive end and he's not truly a linebacker but he is a weapon that defensive coordinator Will Muschamp uses to disrupt the point of attack. Alabama's offensive tackles have played quite well and the line as a unit has only surrendered 15 sacks on the season.
Read more for the low down on Sergio Kindle squaring off against the Bama front...
Why is this match up important?
Sergio Kindle is the most disruptive force in the BCS title game for either team and he must be active to slow down Alabama in both the run and the passing game. Having only given up fifteen sacks this Alabama unit is big, strong and they're playing as one protecting McElroy and opening up holes for Ingram.
Who will win this match up and how?
The Alabama offensive line went through a serious transition this past offseason when they lost Andre Smith to the NFL as well as Andre Caldwell and Marlon Davis to graduation. The Tide went from having the nation's best offensive line to looking for answers and bodies to fill those big holes. Well James Carpenter, juco transfer, William Vlachos and Drew Davis have stepped up to the challenge in a big way paving the route for Mark Ingram to win a Heisman.
As a junior Kindle piled up 10 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss playing opposite NFL first rounder Brian Orakpo. Instead of going pro like his teammate Kindle stayed in school to anchor the Longhorns 2009 defense and make a national title push. This season he's equaled that 12.5 tackles for loss but only put up 3.5 sacks as he starts every play as the offenses focal point.
In this match up we'll look at James Carpenter the left tackle and Drew Davis the right tackle as they both will be tasked with stopping Kindle from getting to Greg McElroy. Kindle is a dynamic rusher who can get to the quarterback from the down end position as well as coming off the corner in the elephant style from the 3-4 look that Muschamp often uses to bring pressures. This will be the first time; outside of practice, that the Tide have faced such a dynamic pass rush and run blitzing attack.
Remember folks Carlos Dunlap was suspended for the SEC Championship game when Florida walked into the Georgia Dome.
To match the speed and dynamic rush challenge that Kindle presents expect Alabama to slide their protection to Kindle in the passing game as well as use a back or tight end to chip or max protect depending on down and distance. The Tide will have to make sure they're putting pads on Sergio or he will make McElroy's game a living hell.
As the game plays out the chess match will intesify everytime that Carpenter and Davis stymies the rush. Will Muschamp will go back to the drawing board to find ways to get Kindle free off the edge. I fully expect the senior to get free several times and put pressure on McElroy, especially with the Tide's heavy reliance on the play action pass and long drops.
When it is all said and done this appears to be a bit of a stalemate with a slight edge towards Alabama because of the Tide's ability to use Upchurch, Peek and Co to chip the edge rusher. Kindle will make a couple big plays; both against the run and the pass in this national title match up. However, when it is all said and done the Alabama road graders will be able to push the 6'4" 255 lb hybrid end around in the running game to get plenty of offense.