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Saban returns Alabama to top

Updated: January 8, 2010, 7:24 AM ET
By Ivan Maisel | ESPN.com

PASADENA, Calif. -- Texas played without its best player for nearly 56 minutes. There's an asterisk.

And midway through the fourth quarter, Alabama started looking a lot like Phil Mickelson on the 18th tee at Winged Foot. The Crimson Tide played most of the second half like it had one foot on the trophy stage, nearly giving away an 18-point lead to a team playing a freshman backup quarterback.

It may not have been a fair fight, and it may not have been pretty. ...

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