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Basketball bumped for big brother

As if we didn’t need another reminder of just how important football is in the state of Alabama.

The University of Alabama has already canceled three days worth of classes so students and faculty could make the trip to Pasadena, Calif., for Thursday’s Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game, which will feature the Crimson Tide against Texas.

Perhaps even more surprisingly, a Birmingham attorney filed a motion to move an upcoming trial date because it was scheduled for this week.

The madness affects even those that might not be fans. Many local high school basketball teams that had games scheduled for Thursday have seen those games rescheduled (see story at the bottom of this page).

Never mind that many of the players, coaches and fans these changes will affect are not Alabama fans.

It’s hard to argue with the logic, though. These programs depend on gate receipts for their well-being. If coaches think they can make more money by moving a game to a different day, they will do just that.

While we’re on the topic of the title game, I’ll offer up a prediction.

Both teams have fantastic defenses, and, though the offenses take different approaches (Texas quarterback Colt McCoy will sling it around the whole game while ‘Bama will rely more on Heisman Trophy-winning running back Mark Ingram), they look to be push, too. Javier Arenas for UA and Jordan Shipley for the Longhorns are two of the best return men in the game.

Games this evenly matched usually come down to coaching. Though Texas’ Mack Brown has the underdog role to play up, I’ll take Alabama’s Nick Saban in this contest.

Brown has been a model of success in Austin, his biggest win as a head coach—the 41-38 title game win over USC at the end of the 2005 season—was more the result of an otherworldly performance by quarterback Vince Young than any scheme.

McCoy is the winningest QB in college football history, but he can’t single handedly beat the Tide.

Pick: Alabama 23, Texas 20.