Ingram, Alabama aim for Leinart-like finish

Mark Ingram had barely finished his teary-eyed acceptance speech before discussions of the curse emerged. The Alabama tailback became the first  Heisman winner for his university, and in doing so, he inherited a burden that few winners before him have been able to overcome.

It’s now common knowledge that Heisman winners and their teams have historically fell flat in BCS National championship games, with only Matt Leinart prevailing this decade. But there’s another feat accomplished by Leinart and his Trojans, which has not been duplicated since last achieved. They also defended their No. 1 ranking.

Teams ranked No. 1 in the country walk with swagger and often raise that single digit high in the air for all to see. But in six of the last seven BCS championship games, the team entering as No. 2 has played to victory. Since 2002, Southern California’s wire to wire act, and drubbing of Oklahoma, is the only championship victory recorded by the higher ranked team.

2002: No. 2 Ohio State 31, No. 1 Miami 24
2003: No. 2 LSU 21, No. 1 Oklahoma 14 (Jason White)
2004: No. 1 USC 55, No. 2 Oklahoma 19 (Matt Leinart)
2005: No. 2 Texas 41, No. 1 USC 38 (Reggie Bush)
2006: No. 2 Florida 41, No. 1 Ohio State 14 (Troy Smith)
2007: No. 2 LSU 38, No. 1 Ohio State 24
2008: No. 2 Florida 24, No. Oklahoma 14 (Sam Bradford)
2009: No. 1 Alabama vs No. 2 Texas (Mark Ingram)

Aside from the Heisman jinx, Ingram and his Crimson Tide will enter the BCS title game as the nation’s top ranked program. It’s a double whammy, as far as curses go, and he’ll look to follow Matt Leinart as the last Heisman winner and member of the Nation’s No. 1 team to also win a National Championship.

~ by Anthony on January 2, 2010.

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